World learned little from COVID, is ‘woefully’ unprepared for the next pandemic, report says

The world has learned little from the coronavirus pandemic – and we are not using what we did gain to prevent or deal with another one, a panel convened by the World Health Organization said this week.

Globally, we are “woefully” unprepared for the next pandemic, the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response said Wednesday, presenting a report commissioned by WHO a year ago.

This is not for lack of understanding of what to do, nor is it about the severity of the next pathogen, they said. It’s simply because for some reason there is not enough political will.

“If there were a new pandemic threat this year, next year, or the year after at least, we will be largely in the same place,” said panel co-chair and former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark. “Maybe worse, given the tight fiscal space of many, if not most, countries right now.”

We have the same toolset we did at the end of 2019, and that proved inadequate, Clark said, and not just because of the tools themselves.

“The weak links that we identified then still exist today, and without more concrete efforts to fix them, we could find ourselves once again scrambling to protect people from a new pandemic threat,” she said in the statement.

Friday, May 20, 2022 - 1:21pm