Is the world ready for another pandemic?
(ORDO NEWS) — In 2020, the world has changed and probably forever. The pandemic of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has had a devastating effect on the way things go. According to experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), world leaders are not doing enough to prepare for the future, possibly even more deadly and devastating pandemics. A new report from the independent WHO and World Bank Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) says the novel coronavirus pandemic has shown how little attention the world has paid to prepare for such disasters. And this despite numerous warnings from scientists that large outbreaks of disease are imminent.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a severe test for the entire world,” the authors of the report write. “Failure to learn from it or act on it with all the necessary resources with you will mean that the next pandemic, which is bound to come, will be even more devastating.” This was expressed by Gro Harlem Brundtland, GPMB co-chair and former head of WHO. Harlem noted that experts warned world leaders and the general public about the danger of a pandemic back in 2019, but the world was still not prepared for it.
The effects of COVID-19 are even worse than we expected, but the actions we called for last year have yet to be taken.
Gro Harlem Brundtland, GPMB Co-Chair and Former Head of WHO
According to the data presented in the report, the global death toll from the new coronavirus infection SARS-CoV-2 is approaching the one million mark. It should be noted that since the world first faced the new virus in December 2019, almost 30 million people have been infected with it.
Today, the Global Preparedness Monitoring Council reiterates its call for broad global cooperation and long-term funding for pandemic preparedness and prevention. Moreover, Ms. Harlem Brundtland urges the UN, WHO, and international financial institutions such as the World Bank to convene a summit on the global health emergency. The summit writes Science Alert, is aimed at coordinating international action on emergency preparedness and response.
Panic and disregard
As the authors of the report write, the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed our collective failure to take action to prevent a pandemic and has also demonstrated the fragility of economies and social systems. And this is not to mention the crisis of confidence at the international level. The pandemic, while unbelievable as it may seem, has exacerbated already uneasy (and in some cases strained) relationships within societies and between nations. The pandemic exploits inequality by reminding us in no uncertain terms that not everyone has access to quality health care.
It should be noted that over the past century, a great many developments and innovations have been created that have increased life expectancy throughout the world. However, these same advances have also contributed to our unprecedented vulnerability to rapidly spreading infectious disease outbreaks. This is due to uncontrolled population growth, climate change, lack of resources, thus creating inequality.
Moreover, cases of destruction of tropical rain forests have increased. Experts are paying close attention to this problem since there is the possibility of transmission of viruses from wild animals to humans (as demonstrated by the Covid-19 pandemic).
We have created a world where catastrophe can occur anywhere. While growing nationalism and populism undermine security, human prosperity, and world peace, infectious diseases fuel these problems.
As a solution to these problems, the authors of the report propose a “mechanism” for securing “sustainable, predictable funding at the required scale”. The return on investment in pandemic preparedness is enormous. Estimates of the cost of preventing and preparing for a pandemic are in the billions of dollars, but the cost of a pandemic is in trillions of dollars.
The current head of WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, agreed with the arguments made by his predecessor, stating that “spending on health and preparedness is not a charity. This is an investment in our common future.” According to experts and WHO representatives, inaction in the current situation is tantamount to expecting a plane crash in a falling plane; “It is as if we are waiting for the house to burn down and only then we call the firefighters.”
Tedros stressed that COVID-19 “will not be the last pandemic, nor the last global health emergency.” According to the head of WHO, every day, while we stand on the sidelines and do nothing, brings us closer to the next global health emergency, be it an outbreak, climate change, or natural disaster. What do you think about this? We will wait for the answer here!
“We do not know what the next global health emergency will be, but we do know it is coming and we need to be prepared.”
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