COVID Unmasked
As One World We Must Change Our Behaviors
By Judith Fales


Jacobs Institute (JI) and UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences recently convened a panel of renowned experts in a webinar focusing on the real impact of COVID-19 in the context of our current behaviors and changes we will need to make to meet future challenges and more serious pandemics.

Stephen Morrison, PhD of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, pointed out that while a COVID vaccine may help us with the current virus, it will only be a band-aid since it won’t address the next pandemic, which he predicts will be worse. He said our behaviors historically have been to experience a disease cycle, endure the crisis caused by the disease, take action to cure it, and then remain complacent, taking no further action. He hopes that COVID will break this cycle.

What must we change in order to stop this deadly cycle?

Steven Galster of Freeland International says we must end our practice of capturing, killing, and trading wild animals. Continuing this practice, he says, takes animals out of their natural environments and ships them, along with their bacteria and viruses, into new geographic areas where harmful pathogens are passed on to humans who don’t have immunity to these pathogens. Galster says we must change our relationship with nature and pay attention to the environment, which is already negatively impacting our health. He sums it up in a call for sustainable farming, environmental, climate, and animal protection saying, “If we take care of nature, nature will take care of us.”

Amar Sawhney, PhD of Instylla and Premand, LLC says we need elected leaders who understand and are willing to make changes to protect us based on what science, medicine, and research confirms. Our health system must be designed to fully care for all people, because if all people are not included, we all get sick. The virus that causes COVID-19 was spread to the rest of the world by just one person who spread it to others, resulting in a global pandemic. Dr. Sawhey says having a coordinated response, rather than each city, state, and country trying to solve a massive problem, is the only way we can all be assured protection. He said we must also review our business models and entrepreneurial efforts to ensure we have necessary supplies to combat diseases and ensure the survival of our economies.

Ken Snyder MD PhD of University at Buffalo and UB Neurosurgery discussed how and why this virus behaves differently from other viruses, explaining how it works, its resistance to treatment, and why rapid testing must be made widely available, including in people’s homes. Dr. Snyder also discussed the extent of the massive global effort regarding the development of treatments and vaccines.

The experts say it is vital for us to address economic and health disparities as viruses exploit those disparities and result in more people getting sick and dying, Realizing we are one world, we must commit to saving one another from another pandemic, which is expected to be worse than this one, especially if we don’t make these changes.

See the webinar at Learn more about JI at