The COVID-19 pandemic could have been prevented according to a new report commissioned by the World Health Organization. The report exposed the weaknesses at every point of the preparedness process around the world and said that COVID-19 was a “preventable disaster.” The panel of experts who penned the report warned that if we do not learn from our mistakes and make wholesale changes in how we battle global outbreaks, we are headed for future catastrophes.
According to Axios, The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response that compiled the data for WHO, published its findings on Wednesday. The report criticized governments worldwide for not being prepared for COVID-19, despite dealing with previous outbreaks from Ebola, Zika, and SARS.
The report said that the global response to the threat of COVID-19 was “too slow” and “too meek,” and that the WHO was “underpowered,” according to Axios. The experts who analyzed the data on the pandemic pointed to a lack of “global political leadership” that stalled effective and appropriate response to the virus.
The panel said that nations that were successful in containing COVID-19 were the ones that were proactive, and the ones that failed denied the urgency and delayed their response. Experts who wrote the report targeted the lack of critical medical supplies needed to battle the pandemic and criticized the poor performance of healthcare systems in handling the crisis.
The committee wrote in their report: “COVID-19 is the 21st century’s Chernobyl moment — not because a disease outbreak is like a nuclear accident, but because it has shown so clearly the gravity of the threat to our health and well-being.
“It has caused a crisis so deep and wide that presidents, prime ministers, and heads of international and regional bodies, must now urgently accept their responsibility to transform the way in which the world prepares for and responds to global threat. If not now, then when?”
The panel recommended that to end the pandemic, wealthier nations should provide “at least one billion” vaccine doses to poorer and middle-income nations, according to Axios. Other suggestions were getting the World Trade Organization and WHO to convince vaccine-producing countries “to agree to voluntary licensing and technology transfer for COVID-19 vaccines,” and for all nations to improve their access of COVID-19 tests and therapeutics.
“Our message for change is clear: no more pandemics,” the experts wrote. “If we fail to take this goal seriously, we will condemn the world to successive catastrophes.”
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