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What COVID-19 Exposed About Getting Sick in America—and the Path Forward

A look at where we are a year into the pandemic—and where we need to go.
By The Editors at Health.com
March 01, 2021

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic. Though the US is currently in a much better spot one year later, with the approval of three vaccines, many of us still feel like life is stuck on pause. By this point, we've mostly adapted to a new normal—six-foot physical separation, mask-wearing, plexiglass dividers, social bubbles, virtual appointments, and all the other COVID-19 adaptations that weren't yet quotidian a year ago.

But something else is happening a year into a public health crisis no one could see coming: mass awareness of what it's like to get sick in America. The US medical system always had its flaws, of course, such as overtaxed workers, a lack of investment in mental health, and shakier access to care for those who struggle on the margins. Now it seems that acknowledgment is turning into action. Some aspects of the system, like mental health protections for health care professionals, have a long runway for improvement. But other initiatives, such as closing gaps in care for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Americans, are showing slow but promising signs of progress. The articles in this 6-part spotlight cover the cracks in our medical system COVID brought to light, and take a look into a reimagined future where health care works better for all.   

Credit: Alex Sandoval
Credit: Alex Sandoval

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Credit: Alex Sandoval
Credit: Alex Sandoval

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Credit: Alex Sandoval
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