A COVID-19 Update: “Moving Forward: Too Soon to Talk About Post-Pandemic Life?”

Moving Forward: Too Soon to Talk About Post-Pandemic Life?
Presented by The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce on Facebook

Article by Afrikah Smith

ONLINE – With recent news of post-pandemic plans and mask mandates being lifted as early as April 2022 in California and New York, is it too soon to talk about a post-pandemic life in the Greater Boston area? With the trajectory of where we are heading, no. In fact, there is optimism that 2022 will be better.

Hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, GBCC President & CEO James Rooney moderated Moving Forward: Too Soon to Talk About Post-Pandemic Life?. The one-hour panel featured guest speakers Dr. Kevin Churchwell, Dr. Anne Klibanski, and Dr. Kevin Tabb, from Boston’s leading healthcare institutions, on what we can possibly expect in the very near future. 

As vaccination numbers climb in the state of Massachusetts, medical professionals are working with city and state officials to see how to effectively implement mandates. Dr. Anne Klibanski, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mass General Brigham, looked at the data and said “We are in a much better situation than we were a few months ago.”

Hospitalization and infection rates are going down in comparison to past years. At the Mass General Brigham Hospital, Klibanski said they are at about 40 percent of hospitalization capacity compared to where we were before this current surge. Although the fight is not over. 

Dr. Kevin Tabb, President and Chief Executive Officer Beth Israel Lahey Health, said they felt cautiously optimistic and said that the recent surge is going down more slowly than medical professionals would like. While noting that the most recent data healthcare professionals have proven there to be a positive change, it does not dismiss the stress and pressures that healthcare professionals and caregivers have experienced in the past two years. 

Reflecting on the rising movement of the Great Resignation, President and Chief Executive Officer Boston Children’s Hospital, Dr. Kevin Churchwell said that there are “… issues that are right at the forefront for us in terms of listening to our staff, understanding what those issues are, and working to address them.”

With the virus, masks, and vaccines becoming politicized over the course of the pandemic, all three doctors addressed concerns around the disconnection and impacts of misinformation that have affected the level of care their institutions and others have provided. 

They observed a shift and pointed out the need to continue keeping safe for others who are most vulnerable in our society, especially with mutations of the virus. For local theaters and event venues, this raises questions and concerns around how soon we can resume in-person programming in indoor spaces, as well as what measures to put in place to go back to normal.

With planning in the works, all three doctors said “we have to prepare ourselves. As a country, as a world, as healthcare providers for what may be a different pandemic.” 

They emphasized the importance of the vaccine and booster, affirming that they are effective and safe. The panel highlighted the need to change our current community health and care delivery models to meet the needs of medical professionals and their patients. They said although we can expect changes in mandates in the upcoming warmer months, we must learn to find our capacities, and prioritize risk assessment in future decision-making.

To watch the recording of the panel, visit the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Youtube Channel.

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