The U.S. and U.K. Were the Two Best Prepared Nations to Tackle a Pandemic —What Went Wrong?
On Oct. 24, 2019—45 days before the world’s first suspected case of COVID-19 was announced—a new “scorecard” was published called the Global Health Security Index. The scorecard ranked countries on how prepared they were to tackle a serious outbreak, based on a range of measures, including how quickly a country was likely to respond and how well its health care system would “treat the sick and protect health workers.” The U.S. was ranked first out of 195 nations, and the U.K. was ranked second. You read that correctly. The two countries that on paper were the best prepared to deal with a pandemic turned out by June 2020 to be two of the world’s biggest failures in tackling COVID-19. With 122,300 excess deaths—the number of deaths over and above what would be expected in non-crisis conditions—the U.S. ranks number 1 on this metric. In second place, with 65,700 excess deaths, is the U.K. There’s a reason the scorecard got it so wrong: It did not account for the political context in which a national policy response to a pandemic is formulated and implemented. There is an eerie similarity in the appalling political decisions made by President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson—two right wing “illiberal populist” leaders who believed their nations were invulnerable, generally rejected science, and turned inwards and away from multilateralism. Their parallel decisions consigned many of t...
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The recent WHO decision to declare the novel coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), while both appropriate and hardly surprising, offers the opportunity to reflect on the previous PHEIC which was declared, namely the Ebola epidemic in Kivu region, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). And you should really say the ongoing Ebola epidemic, as during the time since the declaration in July 2019 through to the present day (March 2020), a total of 3,453 cases have been reported . The nCoV-2019 outbreak is still ballooning; as of today, over 400,000 confirmed cases worldwide with no ...
This article is republished from The Conversation. Read the original article. The post Coronavirus: Ten Reasons Why You Ought Not to Panic appeared first on Inter Press Service. Excerpt: Ignacio López-Goñi is microbiologist and works in University of Navarra (Spain). The post Coronavirus: Ten Reasons Why You Ought Not to Panic appeared first on Inter Press Service.
Pandemics are perversely democratic. They’re nasty, lethal and sneaky, but they don’t discriminate. No matter your age, ethnicity, religion, gender, or nation, you’re a part of the pathogenic constituency. That shared vulnerability, and the resulting human collectivism—a universal response to a universal threat—is newly and vividly evident in the face of the now-global outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as 2019-nCoV. As of writing, there have been over 30,000 diagnosed cases and over 630 related deaths. A virus that emerged in a single city, Wuhan, China—indeed, in a single crowded ...
“Everyone knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world,” observes Albert Camus in his novel The Plague. “Yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet plagues and wars always take people by surprise.” Camus was imagining a fictional outbreak of plague in 1948 in Oran, a port city in northwest Algeria. But at a time when the world is reeling from a very real microbial emergency sparked by the emergence of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, central China, his observations are as pertinent a...
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