In 2020 the world population is 7.68 billion; four times the population in 1918. According to an article written for the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic called, “The Deadliest Flu: The Complete Story of the Discovery and Reconstruction of the 1918 Pandemic Virus,”
“If a severe pandemic, such as occurred in 1918 happened today, it would still likely overwhelm health care infrastructure, both in the United States and across the world. Hospitals and doctors’ offices would struggle to meet demand from the number of patients requiring care. Such an event would require significant increases in the manufacture, distribution and supply of medications, products and life-saving medical equipment, such as mechanical ventilators. Businesses and schools would struggle to function, and even basic services like trash pickup and waste removal could be impacted.”
Omniscient and predictive, Douglas Jordan, a health communications specialist employed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to compile a thorough description of the 1918 pandemic listened to experts and did his research before writing these words.
….challenges at a global level include surveillance capacity, infrastructure and pandemic planning. The majority of count[r]ies that report to the WHO still do not have a national pandemic plan, and critical and clinical care capacity, especially in low income countries, continues to be inadequate to the demands of a severe pandemic.3 In 2005, milestones were created in the revised International Health Regulations (IHR) for countries to improve their response capacity for public health emergencies, but in 2016, only one-third of countries were in compliance.
In 100 years, much work has been done in medicine and public health. However, now we have had to rely on basic public health strategies- hand washing, cleansing and social distancing- because leadership on the highest levels failed to listen to experts.
When world leaders downplay problems, blame other countries and reduce funding for important organizations like the CDC, FEMA (in the US) and the World Health Organization (WHO), what happens? See today. This pandemic did not need to be as difficult and deadly as it has been. But because world leaders criticize experts and medical professionals instead of listening and following their guidance, the world is enduring another pandemic. Failing to fund the organizations that save lives is idiocy of the highest order.
Please look at this news coverage see ‘Nothing to worry about’ and ‘it’s being contained’: How Trump officials downplayed the coronavirus. Now look at a video from a leader whose foolish behavior got his sick.
73 days ago Boris Johnson said this.
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) April 17, 2020
2019-20 Pandemic Failings
I’m not usually on a soapbox but I am tired of hearing that experts – people who have devoted their lives to learn and understand some subject deeply – are people to ridicule and ignore.
People who have been educated and have real expertise should be valued. Now that one leader got sick with COVID-19, he is suddenly appreciative of nurses and physicians who have saved his life. Will he continue to look to experts for guidance or will he go back to his old ways?
Feature image by: Raphaël Dunant