The 14th annual symposium of the Washington State Academy of Sciences occurred roughly 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. The symposium highlighted the importance of science in addressing societal challenges, and the many links between science and larger social issues, including social justice, political discourse, and economic activity. As the COVID pandemic continues to upend life in Washington, nationally, and globally, we focused on what we have learned thus far, from the biomedical aspects to the broader social implications of the deadly virus, and the many connections among them.
The symposium, entitled “COVID-19: Science and Society”, examined the pandemic through three lenses: Immunity, Community, and Opportunity. Each focused on a different area of pandemic impact. To understand the course of the pandemic, the consequences of the pandemic, and lessons for future preparedness, the presentations and breakout discussions strived to seek patterns and connections across multiple domains in hopes of gaining scientific insight to help crystallize the lessons learned, inform the recovery process, and build resilience against future disasters.