How should the U.S. handle COVID-19 and future pandemics?: Pre-medical and pre-nursing students respond
By Mana Soroush, Journalist Intern for the Richmond World Affairs Council
VCU is ranked #68 in best medical schools for research and #49 in best medical schools for primary care. Moreover, with the VCU Health System being known as a top medical school with Central Virginia’s only Level 1 Trauma Center, VCU attracts many students eager to gain hands-on experience and enter the field of medicine.
The United States has surpassed Italy with the highest number of national COVID-19 deaths. In light of this, pre-medical and pre-nursing students at VCU were asked how they believe the U.S. should handle the increasing cases of COVID-19, and how we can better prepare for future pandemics.
We have all been able to see the great need for trained doctors and nurses during this unpredictable time. Since they are on the front lines risking their lives to treat those with COVID-19, it is important to hear the voices of those training to take on this role.
● Yusuf Nawaz, VCU Pre-Medical Student:
“I think the problem lies within our broken government and the fact that someone who is not learned in the healthcare field is trying to lead us through this pandemic. It’s scary to think that we do not have a team of doctors or other healthcare professionals that advise [our leadership] before making unsupported claims about hydroxychloroquine being a “game-changer”.
It’s really silly. We need a healthcare advisory committee in the White House that should be having major influence over the decisions being made right now and for future biothreats.”
● Nadia Zia, VCU Pre-Medical Student:
“America should swallow their pride and ask for help from other countries on what they have done that has proven to be successful. Every country should be working collaboratively and peacefully. China has a population of 1 billion and the U.S. has a population of 400 million, yet with our smaller population, we are leading in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths (surpassing China, where the virus originated)! The evidence clearly shows the lack of leadership concerning a national emergency.
The next American President shouldn’t dissolve the CDC’s pandemic committee. If Trump hadn’t dissolved it in 2016, then there would be a protocol to look at right now, instead of resting the country’s future in the hands of one individual Dr. Fauci. If America didn’t depend on outsourcing for creating goods we would have more resources as well too, so hopefully, in the future, there’s less dependency on world trade.”
● Sogand Karimian, VCU Pre-Nursing Student:
“I’ve read recent articles about a pandemic like this being predicted because of the inadequate supplies we have in our healthcare system, but nothing was done in the meantime (prior to the pandemic) to prepare just in case. We spend trillions of dollars on our military budget, but we can’t do the same in the sector that is supposed to be saving lives. Had we had more consideration and money allocated for medical supplies sooner, maybe this wouldn’t be the reality we are facing. When I say sooner, I don’t just mean January. We could have prepared for this situation years in advance, but didn’t.
Now, it’s up to us as healthcare professionals to continue to advocate for better care for our patients, with the patient population and their friends and family continuing to fit this as well. We deserve better healthcare coverage and reliable statistics. Healthcare workers make incredibly difficult decisions every day, now they’ve become all too common because we weren’t armored up.”