Fighting a 21st-century Disease with 20th-century Weapons

Fighting a 21st-century Disease with 20th-century Weapons

COVID-19 has exposed the deficiencies of national disease detection and prevention systems in many countries of Europe, and in the United States. In the UK, contact tracing was abandoned early due to lack of capacity. Just three weeks ago, the government was prepared to let thousands of Scots travel through England to Wales and back for a rugby match, and it has taken a month to develop a strategy for scaled-up testing. After a decade of austerity and decentralisation, we are trying to recover the lost muscle memory of the public health response.

It will not be 100 years until the next pandemic, claims David J Hunter, the Richard Doll Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at the University of Oxford, on The Guardian. Population growth, human invasion of animal habitats and the resumption of fast travel between continents will take care of that. More urgently, we need a system in place after the lockdown to prevent a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic being worse than the first.

A Critical Lack of Coherency 

Our lack of coherent and joined-up information systems means we still cannot answer many important clinical questions of relevance to this epidemic. What pre-e...

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