For the Next Pandemic, Let’s Get It Together

Flowers and a toy at the grave of a COVID-19 victim at the Rorotan cemetery in Jakarta. August 18, 2021. Image: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg/Getty
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Flowers and a toy at the grave of a COVID-19 victim at the Rorotan cemetery in Jakarta. August 18, 2021. Image: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg/Getty

Brisk and blunt, a report released today by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board castigates global leaders for the disastrous response to COVID-19 and prescribes immediate steps that need to be taken before the next pandemic hits.
 
The global response to COVID-19’s first year was hobbled by a “collective failure” of preparedness; and the second revealed stark inequities and leaders’ failure to recognize the world’s interconnectedness, per the 9-page report.
 
The cost: Up to 17 million dead, the report estimate. (The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard reports nearly 5 million deaths.)
 
The report calls for a “new global social contract to prevent and mitigate health emergencies.” 

What does that look like? The authors laid out 6 key points, including:

  • An international agreement on health emergency preparedness and response
  • A stronger WHO
  • An agile health emergency system
  • Empowered communities

 
The Quote: “We know what we need to do,” wrote GPMB co-chair Elhadj As Sy in a Guardian commentary. “There have been hundreds of recommendations to reform the system. We just cannot seem to do it. But do it we must.”
 
Ed. Note: Kudos to the GPMB for writing a clear and concise report. If they can publish a road map for saving the world in 7 pages (not counting the front and back covers), we should all rethink our report writing.
 

Related: Congress has bipartisan support to try to deal with the next pandemic. But those talks are already falling behind – STAT

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