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covid-19, pandemic lessons, ask reddit
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People are sharing the lessons of the pandemic.

Two-and-a-half years after the COVID-19 pandemic came to America, things are slowly returning to normal. Although people are still catching the virus, the seven-day average of deaths is around 15% of where we were at the pandemic’s peak. Lockdowns and mask mandates are over, kids are all back at school and there’s a definite feeling that the worst is behind us.

The last 30 months have been a time of anxiety, loneliness, fear, sickness, death, misinformation, and political and economic upheaval. Over that time, most of us were forced to change how we worked, socialized and learned. Even as the pandemic winds down, we live in a world that will never return to what it was like before the virus.

Now’s the time to try to make sense of what we’ve all been through so that if there’s a next time, we know how to do things better.

A Reddit user by the name Affectionate-Ad1060 asked the online forum, “What is the most important lesson learnt from Covid-19?” and they received more than 19,000 responses.


Some thought that the pandemic taught them the importance of being around people. Others realized that maintaining one’s mental health isn’t just about resilience.

A lot of people were discouraged by how incredibly selfish some acted during the pandemic. Many were surprised by the number of people who put their political beliefs ahead of the health of themselves and others.

A lot of our norms and assumptions about society have been significantly challenged over the past two and a half years. The only way that we can create a feeling of hope that things will be better the next time is to examine the lessons learned from COVID-19 so we can be better.

Here are 21 of the most important lessons that people learned from COVID-19.

1. 

"No matter how strong and resilient you think you are, your mental health can be penetrated without you realizing it." — Lentewiet

2. 

"You should take the time to spend with those you love." — idontworktomorrow

3. 

"That it wouldn’t take much for civilized people to turn on each other." — hindmaja

Strength-in-the-Loins added:

"A wise man once said something like 'Humanity is perpetually 9 meals away from utter barbarism."

JimmyHammer12 really put the nail on the head with their response:

"It could also be said based on the way people went FOMO for all that toilet paper that 'Humanity is perpetually 9 rolls away from utter barbarism.'"

4.

"People's mental health ain't no joke... people need people." — vg4030

5. 


"Pandemic was just the proverbial group project in school all over again. A couple of intelligent and hard-working people trying to keep everything from falling apart while the rest sit on their ass or choose to straight up sabotage everything. Yet somehow everyone gets the exact same grade." — NaughtyProwler

6. 

"Bold of you to assume we’ve learned anything." — Airsoft07

7. 

"Healthcare needs a overhaul." — Toxic_Politician

8. 

"The extent to which politicians will sell out public health for their political advantage is much higher than I thought. Usually, life or death situations are good for all politicians, just be a voice of stability and hope and you’re good. We all pull together and get through it. This time, dividing us intentionally to cause chaos? I still can’t believe real people did that." — Griswald

9. 

"Most schools weren't as ready to switch to digital methods as they bragged about." — SenpaisReisShop

10. 

"Most grown adults are nasty and have to be reminded to wash their hands." — shantyirish13

11. 

"The 'supply chain' is far leaner and vulnerable to the vagaries of pandemic conditions than most had thought." — Back2Bach

12. 

"You can have all the free time in the world and still manage to do nothing with it." — hogaway

13. 

"We need to teach statistics and critical thinking better." — hardsoft

14. 

"I work in childcare. We learned that children really need socialization. You would think with time off parents would work on things. Kids came back to daycare, not potty trained, still using a pacifier, speech behind, and refusing to share. It's better now but it was really interesting seeing a child pre-Covid who you potty trained…. Come back months later acting pretty helpless. don’t know if it’s parents, the lack of social pressure, or just some other thing. But it was an interesting experience." — Paceim

15. 

"People are willing to die over politics." — morinthos

16.

"That 50% of jobs can be done from home while the other 50% deserve more than they're being paid." — Kayin_Angel

17. 

"That being tied to the office, working insane hours, super long commutes are not necessary." — squashedfrog

18. 

"People make irrational decisions when afraid." — AaaON_

19. 


"During covid, I was laid off for months and spent that whole time keeping up to date on everything going on in the world. I mean everything I possibly could, every single day. I reached the point of obsession and the massive amount of negative crushed me. There was so much bad going on so much suffering that eventually, one day I just set it all down and said I'll check in in a month. Best decision I made that year, the only thing that kept my sanity. Just taking time away and not bathing in it every day." — Primerallen

20. 

"People will listen to politicians over their doctors." — GhostalMedia

21. 

"A decent amount of people I work with surprised me a lot during the pandemic. People I used to have some respect for revealed themselves as complete idiots. It was really sobering." — RiW-Kirby

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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Pop Culture

'90s kids share movies that will 'take you back to a better time'

It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.

YouTube/Upworthy photo illustration

Honey, I shrunk the kid named Matilda while jamming in space!

Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.

Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.

Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.

These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.

Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:

1. "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

via GIPHY

A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.

2. "The Sandlot"

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It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.

3. "Drop Dead Fred"

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Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!

4. "The Goonies"

via GIPHY

Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.

5. Tim Burton's "Batman"

via GIPHY

Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.

6. "Hook"

via GIPHY

Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.

7. "Space Jam"

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It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.

8. "Matilda"

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I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.

9. "The Parent Trap"

via GIPHY

Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.

10. "The Land Before Time"

via GIPHY


No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.

11. "Richie Rich"

via GIPHY

The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.

12. "Dunston Checks In"

via GIPHY

Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.

13. "George of the Jungle"
george of the jungle, brendan faser

Watch out for the tree!!!

Giphy

Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.

14. Anything involving Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
mary kate and ashley

Yes, they were professional detectives.

Giphy

Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.