On May 5th, the World Health Organization announced that the COVID-19 global health emergency was over. In addition, the coronavirus public health emergency in the United States expired on May 11. While an increase in COVID case numbers remains a cause for concern, increased population immunity from vaccination and infection means that a smaller share of infected people end up in the hospital. The hope is that, while people continue to get sick from this virus, it won’t be so disruptive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult and challenging experience for individuals, communities, and nations worldwide. However, it has also provided valuable lessons that can help us prepare for future public health crises and build a more resilient, interconnected, and science-driven world.

Lesson #1: Washing your hands and staying home when sick.

The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of the importance of regularly washing our hands, and this ongoing healthy habit will continue to have a positive impact on people’s lives. Now, as we get back into the world and drop our guard, it’s a good reminder that we shouldn’t drop the hand-washing habits we learned during the pandemic. In addition, a healthy colleague is the best colleague. If you are sick, it is always best to stay home. Stopping the spread of any virus by staying home is a feasible and realistic option.

Lesson #2: The importance of global cooperation and preparedness.

Perhaps the most striking lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic is the critical role of global cooperation and preparedness. The pandemic has made it clear that no country can afford to tackle a public health crisis alone, and that a coordinated global response is essential to address a threat of this magnitude.

The pandemic has also exposed the need for better global preparedness. While many countries had emergency response plans in place, few were equipped to handle a crisis on the scale of COVID-19. Moving forward, it will be important to invest in preparedness measures such as research and development of vaccines, stockpiling of essential medical supplies, and coordination between national and international organizations.

Lesson #3: The importance of science and evidence-based decision-making.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also underscored the importance of science and evidence-based decision-making. From the development of vaccines to the implementation of public health measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing, the response to the pandemic has relied heavily on scientific research and expert analysis.

At the same time, the pandemic has highlighted the dangers of misinformation and the politicization of science. As we move forward, it will be critical to ensure that decision-makers have access to accurate, reliable information and that science is not distorted or used for political gain.

Lesson #4: The importance of resilience and adaptability.

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of resilience and adaptability. From healthcare workers on the front lines to businesses forced to close their doors, the pandemic has tested our ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.

In the face of this crisis, many individuals and organizations have demonstrated remarkable resilience, finding new ways to work, connect with others, and continue their daily lives. Looking ahead, it will be important to build on these lessons and foster a culture of resilience and adaptability that can help us weather future crises.

By working together, investing in preparedness measures, and staying committed to science-based decision-making, we can emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.