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?
In this part of my conversation with Prof. Dr. Manfred Wildner and Dr. Herbert Zöllner in Munich, we are discussing biothreat and pandemic preparedness in Germany.
Dr. Zöllner worked for the World Health Organization from 1971-2002, in a variety of roles. He was Regional Officer for Health Economics at WHO’s Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen and later member of the executive management team in Strategic Planning and Coordination.
As part of my work for NYU’s School of Global Public Health, I have been compiling and comparing key metrics for the most severe global pandemics that occurred in the past 100 years.
I am comparing COVID-19 metrics to seasonal influenza, 1918 Spanish flu, 1957 Asian flu, 1968 Hong Kong flu, and 2009-10 H1N1. There are many similarities and differences that can be observed. Aside from the astonishing speed of vaccine development to combat COVID-19, there are three interesting findings.
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.
If you are working for a healthcare organization and are looking for a COVID-19 disaster plan, you can now download a template using the link below.
Freely available to any organization, COVID-19 disaster plan templates were created by 30 students from schools across NYU including Medicine, Nursing, Public Service, Social Work and Global Public Health.
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.
Since the Hong Kong health system is often an important gatekeeper with regard to pandemics, I was interested to find out how the government structures preparedness efforts for both unintentional and intentional biological incidents.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, I spoke to a senior officer who is working for the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). We discussed the Hong Kong Government’s approach to bioterror and public health preparedness.
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.
Check out this COVID-19 simulation tool. It allows you to change several different variables both individually and together. You can test how duration, interventions, severity, and contagiousness all affect the trajectory of this fast-spreading virus.