The pandemic we have isn’t the one we wanted, but we weren’t prepared for that one either. Most of the reports below predict an influenza pandemic because that is what happened before. The main points are just as relevant to the pandemic we have, and they consistently echo that we were not prepared even for the enemy we know.
2019: “Preparation requires multiple steps, including careful surveillance for new pandemics, a scalable response system to respond to surge capacity, vaccine production mechanisms, coordinated communication strategies, and stream-lined research plans for timely initiation during a pandemic… Now is the time to prepare and coordinate local, national, and global efforts.” From: Preparing intensive care for the next pandemic influenza
And, it seems, despite having encountered the real threat there are still none of the requisites in place. I’ll let you make your own conclusions about the rest.
2019: “The question is not if we will have another pandemic, but when,” the director-general stated. As things stand, “we are still not prepared enough.” From: World must prepare for inevitable flu pandemic, says WHO.
2016: “Closing schools can help slow influenza transmission among a school-aged population and is an important mitigation measure … However, unplanned school closures can also cause economic and social costs and consequences for students and their families, especially if the closure lasts for several weeks or more… Being aware of these costs and consequences during the course of a pandemic could assist public officials to better evaluate this balance. From: Online Work Force Analyzes Social Media to Identify Consequences of an Unplanned School Closure – Using Technology to Prepare for the Next Pandemic
2013: “Although a well‐matched pandemic vaccine is potentially the most important public health intervention, the time required to produce vaccine after pandemic onset has led to too little vaccine, too late, on a global scale, during each of the last three pandemics… In a severe pandemic scenario, when all countries around the world and all responding organizations are themselves struck or preparing to be struck, most low‐resource communities will fail to receive adequate medical supplies, and their health services will be more stressed than they are today.” From: Are we prepared to help low‐resource communities cope with a severe influenza pandemic?
2012: “Three years after the H1N1 influenza pandemic, there is a reluctance to talk about it – even among health officials – as, despite widespread alarm, it was far less devastating than the 1918 Spanish flu. Pandemic fatigue has set in and is difficult to overcome in the current economic crisis.” From: Push needed for pandemic planning
2005: “At present, most regulatory authorities do not consider that they have sufficient information to assure the safety and efficacy of vaccines produced with the newer technologies… [and] the newer technologies are typically associated with intellectual property rights, which represents another obstacle in making these technologies feasible for rapid deployment.” From: The United States Vaccine Supply: Challenges in Preparing for an Avian Influenza Pandemic
1959: “In view of the rapid spread of the pandemic, it proved impossible to prepare sufficient vaccine from the new strains in time for adequate field trials or mass immunization of the population.” From: The 1957 pandemic of influenza in India
1955: “Much of the success or failure of [epidemic intelligence] is attributable to rapidity with which unusual or undiagnosed diseases, or suspected outbreaks of infectious diseases are reported.” From: CIVIL DEFENSE—Public Health Measures to be Taken in a Major Disaster
We need our leaders to take science-based predictions more seriously. I wonder what excuses our leaders will use next time they fumble the ball.