Holes in the Safety Net: Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic

Author: Eric Ge | Updated October 9th 2020

As vaccine development nears phase 3 completion, with some vaccines even receiving tentative approval, the light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel has come into sight. As usual after any calamity, people have begun reflecting on what could have gone better. What lessons can be learned from this pandemic?

Maintaining Robust Health Systems:

By the time coronavirus became a global issue, it had been nearly a decade since the last H1N1 pandemic in 2009. A lack of vigilance in terms of medical welfare and hospital systems exacerbated early relief efforts, as healthcare workers took on excess risks to grapple with the disease. Although many high-income nations did have strong medical systems, they struggled to provide help to the sudden influx of patients. Establishing resilient healthcare systems, especially those with extra capacity to cope with exceeded patient limits, is a must in preparation for future pandemics.

Boosting Public Confidence in Science:

Despite social distancing and other coronavirus prevention measures being proven effective, many people doubted the veracity of medical experts’ statements. This recent coronavirus period exposed a public distrust towards the scientific community, and in an era of pervasive misinformation, upholding the integrity of science is essential. Early in the pandemic, the leaders of the United States and Brazil publicly recommended treatments not yet approved, such as the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. Citizens also frequently broke quarantine rules by hosting public gatherings, despite medical experts’ insistence not to do so. Increasing public support and belief in science is necessary to ensure safety for all.

Improving Cross-border Collaboration:

Instead of sharing information about coronavirus treatment, countries around the globe took an go it alone approach to battling the pandemic. Two world superpowers, the United States and China, spent excessive attention on pointing fingers at each other. The UN chief, Antonio Guterres, criticized countries’ poor collaboration, stating “there is a total lack of coordination among countries in the response to the COVID.” Though the World Health Organization should have oversaw global collaboration, not enough trust was shared between countries for effective communication. In the future, more dependable international alliances in medicine and science will be crucial to a fast response to pandemics.

The handling of the pandemic this time may have been delayed, with some critical mistakes being made, but as long as countries continue improving and reflecting, future diseases will be solved with ease. Most importantly, governments around the globe have to hold an attitude for growth and improvement. By making the proper choices, and using ethical judgement, the world will hopefully resolve a pandemic more successfully next time.





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