Recently we had the opportunity to join four esteemed emergency response & preparedness experts in a webinar that provided four different perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic:
The speakers were John Caffin, Dr Bill Paton, Sutapa Howlader and Bapon Fakhruddin (the recording can be viewed here).
There were many key learnings:
- Pandemics are different than a natural disaster as:
- the effects are felt over time
- within a country or region, the rise in the number of sick people is different based on geography, socio-economic class and other factors
- mitigation needs to be planned and delivered differently
- Closing schools, public meetings and businesses helps flatten the wave of infection
- Non-health consequences are far greater in the COVID-19 pandemic than health-related consequences:
- economic consequences last beyond the illness or vaccine
- invasive tactics like compulsory mobile tracking applications and mandatory daily neighborhood reporting may continue long after the pandemic is subsiding
- The COVID-19 pandemic (and similar situations) are a sieze-the-moment opportunity to ensure organizations and nations plan, pool resources and implement mitigation strategies
- When a nation like Vanuatu faced the pandemic, a newly elected government and a tropic hurricane, the level of response required to save lives is something no single nation can resource by itself
- Strong, early responses provided faster recovery, as is seen in South Korea and New Zealand
- Gaps need to be identified in all cases studies, as in this current situation, to see the strengths of different actors, reduce risk and analyze needs for resources allocation
- Multiple waves (as seen in the graphic shared by Bapon Fakhruddin) reminds the ERRM sector to be vigilant and prepared for an ongoing cycle of response-recovery in increasingly difficult times when the non-health consequences are being experienced
The webinar is only 40 minutes long, the speakers are very thoughtful and the recording is well worth watching (the recording can be viewed here).
The journal article can be directly downloaded from the journal website here.