Covid-19: Is The World Equipped To Handle An Outbreak Of Such Magnitude?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic: a new disease for which people don’t have immunity, and it is spreading across the world beyond expectations. There are around 2, 76, 007 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11, 401 deaths globally caused by the disease.

With the number of confirmed cases and death quickly rising, countries around the world are doing everything they can to get a victory over the COVID-19 epidemic.

The epidemic has raised a critical question: are we prepared to handle an outbreak of such magnitude?

However, we, as one united world, are yet to be successful in fighting the threat COVID-19 has put against the population, health, and economic stability. The outbreak is damaging the global economy. It is affecting production and disrupting the supply chain and market. Stocks around the world are registering deep cuts as the epidemic continues. The crisis is going to leave a lasting impact on the global economy and the citizens of most countries for months if not years, even after we successfully overcome it.

The epidemic has raised a few critical questions. Are we prepared to handle an outbreak of such  magnitude? Not to talk about the delay in finding the possible cure, are we ready enough to implement the basic preventive measures to stop the spreading of an epidemic like COVID-19? Are all countries cooperating with each other equally to defeat the outbreak?

The initial measures we have taken to stop the spreading of the COVID-19 outbreak are quarantining infected people, imposing travel restrictions, educating the public to avoid large gatherings, and promoting personal hygiene practices. However, these measures alone are not enough to fight an epidemic like COVID-19 in the absence of a strong global health system.

The only way to fight an outbreak like COVID-19 or any other future epidemic is to build a global health system that can support the core health system in each country in the world.

COVID-19 is supposed to be a zoonotic disease that can transfer between humans and animals. And it is often difficult to curb such an outbreak at the beginning. We cannot quarantine infected people completely, let alone the shortage of medical resources to identify the infected ones.

India being the second most populous, doesn’t have sufficient test centers, and there is a shortage of masks and hand sanitizers in many places across the county.

We often blame China for not taking enough measures to prevent the spreading of COVID-19. Barring a few developed countries, many countries don’t have enough health care providers to fight the outbreak of such a large scale.

According to the WHO, the African region has more than 24% of the global burden of diseases, but it only has 3% of the health workers. Just imagine any African country reeling under the outbreak. The implications would certainly have been much worse.

The only way to fight an outbreak like COVID-19 or any other future epidemic is to build a global health system that can support the core health system in each country in the world without any delay in the event of an epidemic breaking out. Also, we should work towards building a global health supply chain that doesn’t shake when an outbreak of such scale emerges.

We cannot adopt the dig-a-well-only-after-the-house-is-on-fire approach. Unless each and every country is equipped with the latest medical resources and has sufficient health care providers, we will not be fully prepared for an epidemic like this.

And as responsible citizens, we should try to stop misinformation getting viral on social media and maintain personal hygiene as recommended by the health care providers. In India, social media is flooded with fake information/rumors that offer an easy solution to the disease, which can weaken our fight against COVID-19.

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