What went wrong?
In an interview with a specialist who served on the National Security Council's Pandemic Response Team in the US which was published on Medscape Family Medicine she concludes that
- Our lack of preparation for the current pandemic was demonstrated by our failure to (1) recognize that the outbreak in China would seed the globe quickly and (2) failure to rapidly distribute diagnostic tests.
- Shelter-in-place orders ( isolation and shielding ) are a blunt instrument that was necessary to flatten the curve and slow down the outbreak.
- The United States will be able to regain its economic and health security only after a vaccine is broadly distributed across the country. Until then, physical distancing and use of masks will need to continue to be the "new normal". This is true for the rest of the world as well.
She noted that:
- Development of COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies as possible treatments or the development of a vaccine offer the best chance of cure or control of COVID-19 in the future .
I believe all COVID affected nations are at a crossroad. Everyone, not just the UK Government, is making plans to ease lockdown measures and re-open the economy. There is never going to be certainty and there is always a risk of a "second spike" pandemic but it is important to realise that everyone is in the same boat. UK leaders have been blamed and criticised for lack of clarity and poor judgement (guesswork) but in all countries where freedom of speech is allowed there are similar sentiments and we should acknowledge this. We are not alone .
Plans for reopening that are published are strikingly similar with nuances of timing and pace. They all call for:
- continuation of personal disciplined behaviour
- gradual re-introduction of socialisation and recreation
- phased returns to education
- phased re-opening of businesses sector by sector
- attention to safety at work measures
- roll out of test/track/treat across the entire population
- within reason (best guess) limit travel and use health checks at borders (not just country to country but all the way down to village to village)
- find a treatment, find a vaccine.
It all sounds familiar because it is what most countries are doing already. These measures have been developed individually across many states. What we need now is consensus, identification of best practice and adoption across all barriers. At present we are wasting time and money by duplication of trials and treatments and fighting between interest groups rather than concentrating on what might be the best thing to do for us all.
Date posted: 08 June 2020
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