Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Never Again?

 Compiled by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (IPPPR), a 13-member committee formed last year as the coronavirus spread across the world, a new report—titled Covid-19: Make it the Last Pandemic (pdf)—warns fundamental changes must be made to defeat future pandemics.

"Preparation was inconsistent and underfunded," the official report summary (pdf) reads. "The alert system was too slow—and too meek. The World Health Organization was under-powered. The response has exacerbated inequalities. Global political leadership was absent. The combination of poor strategic choices, unwillingness to tackle inequalities, and an uncoordinated system created a toxic cocktail which allowed the pandemic to turn into a catastrophic human crisis."

The IPPPR said the world must not miss a crucial opportunity for a course correction. The global community "must learn from this crisis, and plan for the next one," the experts said. "Otherwise, precious time and momentum will be lost...Covid-19 has been a terrible wake-up call. So now the world needs to wake up, and commit to clear targets, additional resources, new measures, and strong leadership to prepare for the future."

The panel also noted that the pandemic, laid bare inequalities around the globe and within individual countries as middle- and upper-class people were far more able to protect themselves from the virus as the working poor were often left to their own devices on the front lines of the crisis, was able to spread as far as it has because world leaders have been unwilling to tackle inequalities.

 "...The extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities is an emphatic demonstration of the interconnectedness of social, economic, environmental, and political factors in society," the report states.

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