COVID-19's 3 lessons learned in New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

COVID-19’s 3 lessons learned in New Mexico

Two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic upended life as we all knew it. People all over the world were suddenly struck by isolation, frustration and fear. In 2020, we all hoped that stay-at-home orders, the widespread utilization of masks, and the desperate call for vaccine development would be the solutions needed to stop the overwhelming spread of infection. Little did we know that two long years later, the virus would claim the lives of over 1 million people in the United States alone, debilitating many more. Although lifted mask mandates and conversations about steps toward normalcy have kindled a sense of optimism, the transition toward endemicity demands reflection.

So, what have we learned during this unprecedented time?

First, the pandemic has taught us that we need to take a comprehensive approach to uphold the three pillars of global health security, which are to prevent, detect and respond. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took a proactive approach as she declared a statewide emergency the same day the state confirmed its first set of COVID-19 cases. She shut down schools and nonessential businesses just days later. However, despite swiftly launching a widespread testing program, it became exceedingly difficult to accurately detect the spread of COVID-19 in our state as the demand for tests critically outweighed the supply. Ensuring the rapid production of reliable diagnostics was crucial, but many underserved communities did not have access to those tests.

COVID-19 cases have been heavily concentrated in ZIP codes with a greater American Indian population and in regions where considerable socioeconomic disadvantages exist. Thus, it is imperative that we communicate the need to prioritize meaningful interventions among disenfranchised communities.

Second, public health policies seemed to ignite public outcry and political controversy. Consequently, the pandemic underscored the idea that public health must supersede politics. As cases mounted, we saw that party orientation continued to perpetuate the stark disagreement over the threat of the virus and the precautionary actions necessary to mitigate the spread of disease. Lastly, COVID-19 has reinvigorated the notion that hope and resilience lies in vaccination. The New Mexico Department of Health reports that over 3 million vaccine doses have been administered and 66.5% of all eligible New Mexicans have received two doses of the vaccine. The state must address vaccine hesitancy by promoting science education, allowing individuals to make informed decisions on scientific issues that arise in the public realm. Hopefully, it would also allow more people to accept certain response efforts that are driven by scientific data.

It is important to remember that when we encounter individuals who display the inability to recognize misinformation, we have a duty not to criticize, but to teach. A duty to bolster scientific consensus because empirical evidence holds an infinite amount of knowledge.

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » COVID-19’s 3 lessons learned in New Mexico


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Water worries
ABQnews Seeker
Ash, debris from burned trees threaten ... Ash, debris from burned trees threaten acequias
2
NM to spend $19M in settlement
From the newspaper
State will make a series of ... State will make a series of investments to improve SNAP program
3
Governor appoints new IT secretary
ABQnews Seeker
New Mexico hoping for broadband expansion ... New Mexico hoping for broadband expansion to rural areas
4
Freedom 4th Celebration is back in ABQ after absence
ABQnews Seeker
Thanks to generous amounts of recent ... Thanks to generous amounts of recent rainfall, the grass is lush and green at Balloon ...
5
Rains ease drought, but flooding threats loom
ABQnews Seeker
Some portions of state received over ... Some portions of state received over half their typical average rainfall
6
More support sought for early childhood education
ABQnews Seeker
Land Grant Permanent fund would be ... Land Grant Permanent fund would be drawn on
7
Sunday shooting deaths of husband, wife will be investigated ...
ABQnews Seeker
Son had been charged with killing ... Son had been charged with killing father; father suspected of killin
8
Court filing: Phone seized from Trump lawyer
ABQnews Seeker
John Eastman, who lives in Santa ... John Eastman, who lives in Santa Fe, says contents are privileged, demands return
9
Lujan Grisham issues order aimed at shielding abortion access ...
ABQnews Seeker
Action taken as NM abortion providers ... Action taken as NM abortion providers brace for influx of out-of-state patients