In an invited comment for The Lancet, George Mason University professor Dr. Kathryn H. Jacobsen warns about the “panic then forget” cycle that has been observed for previous outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases. Her comment responds to an article by Dr. Nirmal Kandel and colleagues from the World Health Organization that evaluated 18 indicators of readiness to prevent, detect, and respond to an emerging infectious disease. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 104 (57 percent) of 182 countries were ready to perform a variety of critical global health security functions at the national and subnational levels.
Dr. Jacobsen outlines several actions that can be taken in the future to improve global public health preparedness:
The COVID-19 pandemic is an urgent call to overcome the “panic then forget” cycle and make a sustained commitment to prioritizing global preparedness.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 27