An independent panel with the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic was completely avoidable if world leaders acted appropriately when it first began.
Former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former president of Liberia, were both members of the panel which was called the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus assembled the independent panel last May to examine the pandemic in its entirety to understand where the world went wrong. This way in the future the world will hopefully be much better prepared should something like this happen again.
“February 2020 was a month of lost opportunity to avert a pandemic, as so many countries chose to wait and see.”
“For some, it wasn’t until hospital ICU beds began to fill that more action was taken, and by then it was too late to avert the pandemic impact. What followed then was a winner takes all scramble for PPE and therapeutics. Globally, health workers were tested to their limits and the rates of infection, illness and death soared and continue to soar,” Clark explained.
“The situation we find ourselves in today could have been prevented. An outbreak of a new pathogen, Sars CoV-2 became a catastrophic pandemic that has now killed more than 3.25 million people, and continues to threaten lives and livelihoods all over the world,” Sirleaf said.
“It is due to a myriad of failures, gaps and delays in preparedness and response. This was partly due to failure to learn from the past.”
The panel went on to urge world leaders, particularly those in wealthier countries, to donate at least 1 billion vaccine doses to low and middle income countries that are still struggling to receive initial doses. This is also a part of WHO’s Covax Gavi Advance Market Commitment, which is described as a vaccine equity plan that will ensure more than 2 billion doses are distributed by 2022.
Overall, our world leaders needed to do a better job at uniting together and letting science lead us through any future pandemics. As we saw earlier on with this one, before a vaccine was even a possibility, countries like New Zealand were able to completely reopen without any restrictions because they were able to become completely Covid-free with the policies they followed.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.