Preparing for the next Pandemic
COVID-19 is a huge wake-up call to the world and its leaders about their ability to handle a public health crisis such as the pandemic. It's important that humanity learns from its mistakes during COVID-19 should a more existential threat emerge in the future. COVID-19 is a terrible disease that has infected 137 million and killed nearly 3 million people worldwide to date. However, it's not an existential threat to humanity, such as the Bubonic plague which killed off an estimated 30-50% of the European population. COVID-19 is also milder when compared to the Spanish flu of 1918 which killed an estimated 100 million people worldwide. In 1918 the worldwide population was 1.8 billion in 2021 it's current 7.9 billion approximately 4.4x bigger. However, Covid-19 exposed how easily we as people can be divided pitted against each other by politicians and misinformation alike. During the social media era, it has never been easier for conglomerates to influence and control the information they receive. It's becoming common knowledge that everything you do on the internet is being tracked, recorded and sold to third parties. This is the concept of a "targeted ad".This collection of data is what has made big tech companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon so successful. This data is also sought after by politicians and corporations looking to influence public opinion or recruit followers. I strongly believe this control over information is what has lead to the radicalization of our society and increased societal tension. There are a number of steps we as a society must take to ensure we can handle pandemics in the future far greater in magnitude than COVID-19.
1. Increased public education and funding
Effective pandemic response requires an "all of community approach" this requires our communities to be in synch and guided by reason/science. Far too often during the pandemic, we have seen inconsistent information from varying levels of government. We need to distribute a clear, concise, and scientific message about the disease we are facing and how to combat it. Misinformation especially at a governmental level needs to be addressed if we are to tackle this issue.
2. Access to rapid testing
Far to0 often during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult for the public to access basic testing, even if you could get a test early on you had to wait 3-5 days for results. This played a major role in allowing the Coronavirus to spread throughout American and the world at large. Far too many times did people find themselves without COVID-19 testing. Germany is having a massive success with their distribution of 1 free COVID-19 rapid test per week per citizen.
3. Domestic production and reserve of PPE
COVID-19 showcased exactly how ill-equipped our supply chains are for a pandemic with major shortages of basic supplies such as masks, gloves, sanitizer, and much more. It's impossible to fight highly contagious diseases with the basics, should a facility run out they cannot operate. This was far too often the case with staff reusing old masks and gloves to stretch the lifespan of their equipment. This is why we are now distributing American-made N95 and ASTM level 3 masks. I believe supporting American mask manufacturing is critical to the survival of the sector and could prove crucial for a future public health crises.
4. Adoption of medical masks
During the pandemic the message was reiterated in every way possible "wear a mask" but not all masks are equal. It's a fact that COVID-19 is an airborne disease and that N95/KN95 masks offer a far greater level of protection. Healthcare workers have long used N95 to filter airborne particles and fight the spread of infectious disease. During a pandemic exposure to the disease does not end when you leave the hospital, so why would your protection? However, there has been a huge amount of organizations that falsely claim they are in shortage as in fact there is an ample supply of medical masks available to the general public. They can be cheaply manufactured and highly effective at combating infectious diseases, so what is stopping their adoption you may ask? Misinformation and reluctance for organizations to go against any more of mask compliance.
5. Increased empathy for one another
We as a society must learn to work together if we are to continue to live on the Earth regardless of what predicament we face. It's paramount that we recognize that we all have far more in common with each other then differences. We must recognize those who attempt to divide us are seeking personal gain. As a society we are far weaker and easily controlled divided. A united society is one of the most powerful forces ever know to this earth.
What do you think????
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