The world is in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic that is causing untold human pain and death, shattering social ties, and robbing people of their livelihoods and countries of their riches. The coronavirus epidemic has put a strain on health systems, exposed unjust inequities, and thrown international organizations into disarray. Here are seven key takeaways.
1. Create resilient health systems.
A robust health system that can quickly detect, evaluate, report, and respond to unusual outbreaks is the most crucial aspect of pandemic preparedness. All countries must have basic health system capacities, such as monitoring, labs, human resources, and risk communication, according to the International Health Regulations, which regulate pandemic response. Infectious disease testing, diagnosis, and treatment capacity are also required by health systems.
Despite having strong health systems, high-income countries frequently lacked the ability to treat huge caseloads with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) or to safeguard health workers from infection. Hospitals and governors in the United States have to compete for ventilation systems and protective clothing. In the event that hospitals become overcrowded, resilient healthcare systems need surge capacity to deal with health emergencies.
2. The Single Most Important Indicator of Success Is Leadership and Public Trust
Despite the importance of health systems, COVID-19 indicated that even nations with substantial capacities frequently scored poorly. The United States, for example, was ranked 1st for pandemic preparedness by the Global Health Security Index. Nonetheless, as of August 12, the United States had reported over 5 million cases, the most COVID-19 cases and lives lost worldwide—2 million more than Brazil, which came in second, and far ahead of the more than 300,000 cases in each of the two hardest-hit European countries, Spain and the United Kingdom. The coronavirus pandemic has taught us the importance of leadership. Whether governments earn the public’s trust is perhaps the single most important indicator of success in reacting to COVID-19. Handwashing and other components of hygiene, physical separation, and facial coverings are all population-based health habits that can dramatically minimize community spread.
3. Defend Science and Public Health Agencies’ Integrity
Societies now have a better understanding of the virus, its routes of transmission, and the most successful public health measures thanks to science. Scientists sequenced the virus just weeks after reporting a cluster of unusual pneumonia patients in Wuhan, China. Acute respiratory syndrome ( sars syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection was later discovered to be spread from person to person, including by asymptomatic persons, according to epidemiological research. Personal hygiene, physical separation, and face covers were found to be effective non – therapeutic measures in further studies. Virus and antibody testing techniques were developed quickly in research laboratories. Effective vaccinations and treatments are the subjects of exciting scientific research. Six vaccines were in phase 3 studies within six months. Despite significant, albeit partial, scientific breakthroughs, nationalist elected elites have sowed distrust about science’s worth and damaged public health institutions. Political leaders in Brazil and the United States, for example, have openly advocated for COVID-19 therapies that their whole government regulators have not authorized, such as hydroxychloroquine. President Trump has openly chastised the US Center for Disease control Control and Prevention’s school reopening standards. The pandemic response will be poor if political leaders fail to execute evidence-based policies or communicate consistent science-based communications.
4. The Prevailing Narrative of This Age is a Focus on Equity.
Well before the coronavirus epidemic, worldwide imbalances in social, financial, and health care became the dominant storyline. COVID-19, on the other hand, exacerbated long-standing systemic inequities, such as access to health care. Infections with SARS-CoV-2 and deaths from COVID-19 disproportionately afflicted racial minorities, such as Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans. Individuals with SARS-CoV-2 disease were exposed to many lower-paid jobs, including those in supermarkets, meatpacking factories, and truck drivers.
In addition, while many white-collar professionals were able to work remotely while maintaining a steady income, many lower-income Americans lost their employment, with many facing evictions. Unemployment in the United States increased from 3.8 percent in February to 13% in May. Infectious diseases should impact all people equally, however, COVID-19 showed that low-income people, those with less education, and those of color are disproportionately afflicted. The fact that the Black Lives protests corresponded with the COVID-19 epidemic are unsurprising. People all throughout the world are angry about long-standing medical, social, and economic inequalities.