top of page
Image by NASA

The world vs the next pandemic 

The human race has witnessed ten influenza pandemics over the course of 300 years. COVID-19, the most recent, killed approximately 6.9 million people and infected nearly 757 million. Though seemingly quite large, the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus is still comparatively fewer than the pandemics of the past, which have killed around 50–100 million people globally. These large numbers may seem like statistics from a century ago, but many scientists predict the same-scale destruction with future pandemics, heightening the concern about how prepared we are when the next big outbreak strikes.

It is impossible to know when the next pandemic will hit or the number of casualties it will bring. The only certainty is that it cannot be avoided, which raises the question of how to mitigate the impact and reduce the effectiveness of large-scale losses. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we observed that preventive measures such as social distancing and face coverings could intervene in viral transmission to some degree. Additionally, strategies like complete lockdown, isolation and timely treatment can help in the containment and recovery of those already infected. These measures, however, can only be taken once the threat is detected promptly before infecting a larger population. To prevent an infection from becoming an outbreak, strategies that focus on the source of the disease can prove to be highly advantageous. Preventive measures may include:

 

● monitoring the mobilisation of wildlife that potentially carries harmful pathogens

 

● studying the interactions between different species in wildlife

 

● surveillance of the domestic and international markets for wildlife trade and strict imposition of biosecurity laws.

 

Additionally, an effort needs to be made for sharing the generated data with global laboratories to promote scientific collaboration. Once the threat is identified, quick decision-making using the correct precautions needs to take place. Simultaneously, investments in research sectors promoting mRNA vaccine developments, novel drug treatments, and emerging technological advances need to be increased. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In conclusion, the strategies for the management of the next pandemic need to operate on a multi-level governance with optimal coordination between different institutions involved in crisis management. There is a constant threat of pandemics looming over the world. The outbreak is inevitable, but its effect solely depends on the preparedness and response of the governmental bodies and global health institutions. Is it going to be a hurricane of destruction, or will it just pass by like a gush of wind? Only time will tell.

 

 

By Navnidhi Sharma 

References

● Coccia, M. (2021). Pandemic Prevention: Lessons from COVID-19. Encyclopedia, 1(2), 433–444. https://doi.org/10.3390/encyclopedia1020036

● Cockerham, W. C., & Cockerham, G. B. (2021). The COVID-19 reader: the science and what it says about the social. Routledge.

● Frieden, T. R., Buissonnière, M., & McClelland, A. (2021). The world must prepare now for the next pandemic. BMJ Global Health, 6(3), e005184. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2021-005184

● Garrett, L. (2005). The Next Pandemic. Foreign Af airs, 84, 3. https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/fora84&div=61&id=&page=

● WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION. (2022). WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. Covid19.Who. int. https://covid19.who.int/?mapFilter=deaths

● World Economic Forum. (2021, November 30). COVID-19: How much will it cost to prepare the world for the next pandemic? World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/preparing-for-next-pandemic-covid-19

Schematic
Statistics
bottom of page