The COVID-19 Pandemic — Finding Solutions, Applying Lessons Learned

Written By Shakuntala Choudhury

One of the most frustrating challenges each of us can face is the inability to control the events that affect our lives. Often, we are thrust into situations not of our own making. At the very outset, we seek apology for the delay in publishing this blog for PSGCNJ the Pandemic world.

And yet, to borrow another often-used saying, necessity is the mother of invention. History teaches us that crises often lead to accelerated change and innovations and new discoveries.

Besides my professional commitments, I also eagerly embraced my new responsibilities in 2020-2021 and the chance to make a real difference in public health. I was especially conscious that we live in a time of extraordinary scientific achievement, especially in biomedicine, with unprecedented opportunities to help make the lives of American patients and consumers healthier and safer during this two-year long pandemic. My volunteer work with the International COVID-19 Task Force kept me very busy as I used an arsenal of statistical thinking in data science to bring the pandemic control. It is my great honor to serve with so many highly-skilled and committed professionals from MIT, Harvard, UCLA and New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) etc.

I was president of an Indian literary organization during the two years of the pandemic and edited two annual journals – “Luitor Pora Mississippi” (meaning Luit or Brahmaputra River in India to the Mississippi in USA, following the immigrant’s dream). A copy of this journal is in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

My achievements with the COVID-19 Pandemic Task Force were useful in communication and educating the masses. The pandemic taught us the following:

  • Togetherness as family due to remote work and remote learning
  • Develop one’s potential as God gave us infinite time
  • Time Management and stay calm and composed as we ride the storm (per Buddha’s wisdom)
  • Movement, diet and ample rest is the key

I encourage you all to stay safe, aware, and focused as we continue to respond to the challenges of this public health emergency.

I am ending with the famous quote from Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu that comes to my mind – “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” He passed away on December 26, 2021.

About the author: Shakuntala “Lata” Choudhury, PHD., is an adjunct professor in the master’s program in applied business analytics at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. Dr. Choudhury is a Senior Director of Data Science for Healthcare Analytics at Agadia Systems Inc. Previously, she was a principal data scientist at global consulting and IT services company Infosys, where she developed digital supply chain analytics for the post-pandemic era. She is an AT&T retiree from Bridgewater, NJ. She has 30 years of experience as a data scientist and statistician in both the telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries with a specialty in predictive model development using data and probabilistic assumptions. Her hobbies include traveling, reading and gourmet cooking. She has traveled to all the continents, except South America and planning to visit after the pandemic ends in 2024.