On December 1, 2021, a historic global effort to develop a “Pandemic Treaty” was unveiled. The draft of the treaty will be written and negotiated under the Constitution of the World Health Organization and under the World Health Assembly. Its goal is “to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response” as well as “protecting the world from future infectious diseases crises”.
This Wall Street Journal article was written by Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 to 2017. While COVID-19 preoccupies us at the moment, it is crucial to begin thinking about the next inevitable pandemics. Dr. Frieden explains that in the years after COVID-19, it is likely that another infectious disease, possibly a similar pneumonia-like illness, suddenly emerges. Will we be ready?
I originally created this blog as a way to spread awareness of the importance of public health preparedness, as it was an undervalued and underfunded topic. However, times have changed and public health and emergency management are at the forefront of news and public policy today as a result of COVID-19.
The first documented Coronavirus reinfection was reported in Hong Kong on August 24th, 2020. Experts say this finding was not unexpected, “especially given the millions of people who have been infected worldwide”. While there have been many presumed cases of reinfection, this case was the first to be confirmed.
As the coronavirus spreads around the world, we can only now see the destructive path it has taken and the devastating effects the virus has on economies and lives alike. The damage of the coronavirus has been “quick and enormous – much greater than 9/11 – and worldwide”, with the virus destroying “economies, governments, and technical infrastructures of the world’s most advanced economies”.
Update: This year’s summer workshop on Pandemics, Bioterrorism, and Global Health Security was cancelled. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Schar School of Policy and Government of George Mason University has cancelled all on-campus events through mid-August.
While social distancing is the best way to slow the spread of Coronavirus and flatten the curve of infections to make sure that hospitals are not overwhelmed, to return to full normalcy, we need to discover, test, and administer a vaccine in large quantities. The good news is that there are currently 35 companies racing to create a vaccine and at least 52 vaccine programs underway.
The US seems behind in its efforts to contain the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. Learnings from other countries, in particular Italy and Germany, indicate that infections have already spread widely in communities and can no longer be traced and controlled. These countries are ahead of the curve and there is no reason to believe that developments in the US will not follow this same path. Continue Reading
There is currently a debate about the trajectory of the new coronavirus disease, now named COVID-19. Different models are predicting different outcomes and numbers provided by Chinese authorities seem to indicate a steep increase in cases. Continue Reading
While the numbers of infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus are accelerating and the peak of the crisis is projected to still be a few weeks away (1), the question of whether China’s centralized governmental system has been helping or hurting outbreak control remains. Continue Reading