It’s Team Immunity, Not Herd, That Will Beat COVID-19
‘Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate’ — Pope Francis
1. There’s a big difference between a team and a herd.
a. In a team, every member recognizes his or her role and relates to, and works with, the other. In a herd, members are just bunched up and don’t really have to care for the other.
b. In a team, members consciously agree on a common over-arching goal to which everyone is committed. In a herd, the members don’t even have to know what they are there for; they just need to be close enough to be counted.
c. In a team, members know and understand the game plan and accept their respective roles. They support each other in executing the plan. In a herd, planning a plan, if there is any, is left to a few schemers; the rest don’t even have to know what the plan is, let alone appreciate and be committed to it.
d. In a team, members keep track of how the plan is succeeding or failing, and willingly make the proper adjustments towards collective victory. In a herd, members are blissfully unaware and, therefore, don’t feel any responsibility for emerging outcomes.
e. In a team, self-sacrifice and mutual support towards collective victory are continuing objectives. In a herd, members don’t take initiatives; they prefer to do as they please unless pushed in a certain direction by a superior force which they follow blindly.
2. Within communities large and small, the battle against COVID-19 is influenced by whether the community is acting as a team, or is simply moving as a herd.
Look at the communities where teamwork in battling the virus is bolstered, nurtured, fostered, and properly recognized. They are doing better in keeping the treacherous virus from spreading fast and wide.
But see the communities where people accept false reports and wrong advice and reject science-based alerts or guidelines for conduct so that they can do as they please. These communities are seeing continuing spikes in the spread of the virus among their citizens. Hospitals are filled to capacity and more people are dying by the day.
3. As tirelessly explained in the mass media by the scientists, experts and professional communicators, there is no single aspect of the disease caused by COVID-19 that can be avoided or fought, and reduced or cured, by single individuals acting alone.
Timely mitigation of cases and effective treatment of illnesses need diverse people acting in concert with mutual understanding and goodwill, correct knowledge, and adequate competence and resources. This is the work of well-organized teams, not herds.
4. In the meantime, everyone in the community has a role to play. It doesn’t matter whether one is in a position of leadership and influence or is simply an ordinary citizen.
Everyone’s sense of duty and cooperation is important and needed, whether inside one’s home and family or in the offices, shops, and institutions. To observe the health protocols at all times and in all places is everyone’s duty and contribution to the collective battle against COVID-19. To follow and support official advice and guidelines from legitimate authorities rather than stoke restiveness among the citizens through adverse gossip and baseless conspiracy theories is an act of statesmanship by every citizen.
5. Teamwork is the key.
It is teamwork to wear masks and/or shields wherever we are, wash our hands often, keep safe distancing from one another, avoid unnecessary gatherings of more than a handful of people, and ensure that our surroundings are clean and disinfected.
It is teamwork to adopt therapeutic practices that are simple and homegrown and help ward off the virus or quickly smother it. It is teamwork to strengthen our personal immune system and take responsibility for our personal health.
It is teamwork to lend a hand to our neighbors and colleagues who fall ill, particularly those who are strapped for financial and other basic resources, and to offer material and moral support to our frontliners in the collective battle against COVID-19.
It is teamwork to be willing to give up for now some of our accustomed and cherished traditions and practices, such as Christmas and other special holidays and milestone dates, if only to avoid occasions for the virus to spread more quickly and easily.
It is teamwork to make conscious and necessary adjustments in our personal and collective lifestyles if only to increase our chances for success in eliminating the virus from our midst.
It is teamwork to patiently wait for our turn in order to receive the much-awaited anti-COVID vaccine and to allow an enlightened order of priority to guide who must receive it first over the others.
It is helpful to take a leaf from a book by Pope Francis entitled “Let us Dream — The Path to A Better Future”, where he says:
“Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate.
“…The pandemic has reminded us that no one is saved alone. What ties us to one another is what we commonly call solidarity. Solidarity is more than acts of generosity, important as they are; it is the call to embrace the reality that we are bound by bonds of reciprocity. On this solid foundation we can build a better, different, human future.
“…This is a moment to dream big, to rethink our priorities — what we value, what we want, what we seek — and to commit to act in our daily life on what we have dreamed of.”