At some point, this will happen again. There will be another new virus and another pandemic.
- And while every pandemic is different, there are some universal lessons the U.S. should learn for the next pandemic — some big, some small, some lessons from what went wrong this time, some lessons from what's gone right.
1. Move fast.
2. Diversify the preparation.
- The global public health community had been preparing for a pandemic, but may have been too narrowly focused on an influenza pandemic, says Claire Standley, an expert on international public health systems at Georgetown University.
3. Have a backup plan for diagnostics.
4. Build up contact tracing.
5. Accept risk on vaccines.
- Governments, drug companies and philanthropies are accepting an unprecedented financial risk in the race for a coronavirus vaccine, and it seems very likely to pay off.
6. Walk the public through the things you're asking of them.
7. International cooperation is key
- Some institutions may need to be reformed, Standley said, and others — perhaps the UN — may need to take on a bigger role in some parts of future response efforts.
- But in a global pandemic, information-sharing and cooperation is essential to understanding the threat, figuring out who's most at risk, and allocating the resources everyone needs to get through it.
8. We need a more equitable health care system.
- We can't know now what will cause the next pandemic, but we know that the status quo of the U.S. health care system will put poor people and people of color at a disadvantage from the very beginning.
9. The economic response and the health response go together.
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