We can be better than coronavirus

We are more than 60 years into the molecular age (Watson and Crick first published their double helix structure of DNA in 1953) and the two most valuable remediation techniques at our disposal are the admonitions to (1) wash your hands and (2) isolate the afflicted. According to the CDC, this latter technique was developed in the Middle Ages.

This isn’t to say that we’ve learned nothing in the ensuing 700 years: the supportive care afforded to those who are critically ill is an extraordinary achievement, the result of iterative—and often unheralded—improvements in processes over time. And it seems that real and rapid progress is being made toward the development of potential therapies (to treat the disease), and vaccines (to protect from it)—but the proof here will be in the eventual clinical trials.

To their credit, physicians and other health care providers tend to be painfully aware of the limitations of their armamentarium, and feel a powerful sense of humility in response to this pandemic.