by : Juan Moisés de la Serna
People frequently say that the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Yet from a bird’s eye point of view it has similarities with other pandemics, even other illnesses, and with other stresses and traumas. In fact, each situation of stress and trauma illuminates all the others. We are on the cusp of a science of stress and trauma. In this book we indicate how the current pandemic interweaves with that science, both benefiting and contributing to it. In other words, though in this pandemic each person and community feel that their sufferings are unique, in fact they overlap with other areas of suffering that can provide benefit to our collective wisdom. In this book two scientists from different parts of the world have come together to meld their knowledge of stress and trauma and apply it, together with their current observations, to understanding of the pandemic. Reciprocally, because all traumatic situations overlap, lessons from the pandemic will benefit other situations of stress and trauma. Thus the contents of this book are relevant to every traumatic situation. The book is laid out in the following. Chapter 1 considers previous traumatic situations, while chapter 2 compares them with the pandemic. Chapter 3 introduces stress and trauma terms and applies them to the pandemic. Chapters 4-6 explore the range of stress and trauma processes and consequences all the way from cellular to international levels. Chapter 7 explores the dialectic between death and resilience, while chapter 8 summarises the previous chapters. Finally, chapter 9 applies stress and trauma understanding to amelioration and treatment of COVID-19 consequences.