The coronavirus pandemic is a Pearl Harbor moment for our nation — requiring a full-throttle response from the federal and local governments.
It also calls for personal sacrifice and for communities to come together.
That's according to Stephen Flynn, founding director of the Global Resilience Institute and professor at Northeastern University. He's also a professor of political science.
He says he thinks the federal response to COVID-19 should emulate the American reaction to the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to national drives that generated weapons, medical supplies, and other materials that enabled the U.S. to prevail in World War II.
We’re being told to maintain "social distance" and wash our hands for 20 seconds; don’t travel, or self-quarantine if you do. All well and good — but Flynn says that telling people what to do isn’t enough.
"It’s not that washing your hands for 20 seconds is what’s needed. It’s that the way you need to wash your hands can’t be done in 20 seconds. We’re not showing people how to wash their hands to be safe," he says.
A lot of people are scared. Many people are losing their jobs. Everyone’s concerned about their health and that of their loved ones. There’s an overarching worry that if we get sick, the hospitals won’t have the capacity to help us. It can be hard to step away from this cycle of anxiety — especially when we’re all cooped up at home.
Flynn outlines some ways to get out of our own heads and help ourselves and others. Pooling resources is key, he explains — and this can mean going on grocery runs for sick neighbors or offering to shop for the elderly.
"This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. And that includes neighbors helping neighbors," he says.
The Global Resilience Institute has produced a free, online class, with scientifically-backed methods for managing a pandemic. Learn more about Flynn's theory of pandemic management and best practices for thriving amidst the COVID-19 outbreak here.
This segment aired on March 28, 2020.