A conversation from sometime in the future

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 62, No. 5, June 2020, Page 157 Editorials COVID-19

“Hey, great-grandpa, how did you survive the COVID-19 pandemic?”

“Mostly, I just sat around and sent funny memes to my social media contacts.”

Back in February, I wrote an editorial about the novel coronavirus and my hope that if it became a global pandemic humanity would respond with kindness and grace (published in the April issue). As I now sit in front of my computer in early April and reflect on the staggering spread of COVID-19 and the resulting unheard of societal adjustments, I am pleasantly surprised by the positive response to this pandemic. Sure, there have been cases of people fighting over toilet paper or gouging their neighbors by reselling medical supplies at ridiculous markups. But these are exceptions. I have been impressed by how the majority of people are reacting. There are numerous reports of individuals reaching out to the vulnerable in their communities by picking up their groceries, prescriptions, and other necessities. Others are trying to ease the social isolation many elderly are experiencing by sharing music and conversation. Groups that aren’t using their personal protective equipment (PPE), such as dental offices, have been sharing with those who need them. All manner of organizations in unrelated fields have asked what they could produce and are now manufacturing gowns, masks, gloves, face shields, and more. Some companies are even designing and looking to make ventilators if need be.

I have been touched to my core by the 7:00 p.m. shout-out to health care workers and first responders. The banging of pots and clapping of hands brings a tear to my eye every time. Restaurants that might be forced to close due to a drastic reduction in their business have been selflessly providing much-needed meals to health care workers at local hospitals. The outpouring of support and gratitude has been truly amazing during this difficult time.

People’s creativity has also been on display. Window decorations with hearts and positive messages adorn many neighborhoods. Colorful decorated rocks now line pedestrian paths and walkways. Social media is providing a constant stream of funny memes to lighten the load and share joy as we navigate this pandemic.

The people of BC have been asked to physically distance themselves, self-isolate, and avoid gatherings. I have been beyond impressed by the general response to these measures, despite the significant financial and social losses incurred. The general population is being respectful yet kind while doing their part to flatten the curve.

My spirits have been lifted, as has my belief in the basic goodness of people. Despite fear of physical illness and financial ruin, so many are reaching out to others less fortunate than themselves. I am confident we will get through this pandemic together with perhaps a kinder and gentler world waiting on the other side.
—David R. Richardson, MD

David R. Richardson, MD. A conversation from sometime in the future. BCMJ, Vol. 62, No. 5, June, 2020, Page(s) 157 - Editorials, COVID-19.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org

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