The Articulate Dentist - A Blog by the Metro Denver Dental Society

An Unpopular Opinion on COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on many industries including dentistry. This is one perspective in a series of blogs on how the stay-at-home order and the virus is affecting individuals in Denver’s dental community. Do you have a story you would like to share? Email marcom@mddsdentist.com.

By: Female, 4th-year dental student, University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine

I have to start by saying that this is probably an unpopular opinion.

When the term COVID first became part of my everyday conversations, I did not take the virus seriously. Early on, I knew very little about it. My life had been unaffected except that it was increasingly difficult to find a mask in the dental school clinic.

The more COVID introduced itself to my social media feed and nightly news stories, the more I felt compelled to resist it. As an avid advocator of the flu vaccination, it was comical that the entire WORLD was up in arms about tackling a novel virus when the influenza virus plagues us annually with unnecessary loss of life. I could not help but roll my eyes when American schools and employers were suddenly encouraging students and employees to remain at home if feeling ill. It blew my mind that everyone was now promoting proper handwashing and frequent hand sanitizing. And now as I approach the 42nd day since I’ve been at school, I’ve made a lot more mind-blowing observations:

As a scholar in health professions, it is incredibly concerning that a microscopic organism needed to disrupt life as we know it, on every continent except Antarctica, before the human race has given priority to physical health and mental well-being. 

As an American citizen, it concerns me that a microscopic organism forced us to behave like savages before employers like grocers took the time to publicly thank their employees for the thankless jobs they do every day.

As a student in professional school, it concerns me that a microscopic organism needed to shut down the education system before school administrations took the time to recognize students at every level, over and over, for our hard work beyond the briefly expected appreciation that is given at graduation ceremonies.

As a future dentist, it concerns me that it took a microscopic organism to squander the plans of thousands of dental students nationwide before the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNE) was willing to approve a non-patient-based licensure exam.

The coronavirus has shown me that in the face of novel situations, mankind is more than capable of novel solutions. The education system can adapt, and we do not have to continue to follow traditional means of learning because of “how it has always been done.” The mental needs of the human race can be prioritized while we still strive for financial security (or success, depending on who you are). Employers can take the time to recognize the efforts of their employees.

The way we, as a species, have been behaving for the last hundred years (and probably before) is despicable. We shouldn’t need to accumulate a lot of stuff to be happy. We shouldn’t need to run ourselves into the ground to prove we are productive or successful. We shouldn’t need something modernly equivalent to one of the great plagues in the book of Exodus to remind us that this planet is all we have and that we must care for it. We shouldn’t need life as we know it to stop before we can find the time to start being decent human beings.

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The Articulate Dentist is a blog by the Metro Denver Dental Society, providing members with insight into the dental industry, practice management tips, tech trends and best practices as well as Society news and updates.

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