5 lessons from past pandemics to cope with COVID-19. One famous line "Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it". Our history is dotted with numerous epidemics and pandemics and the struggling survival stories of those who faced them. In the present times, we are still facing the deadly coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic is equally terrific as its predecessor pandemics or even more fatal. It has been credited with the creation of the largest economic recession in world history. The past epidemics and pandemics have certainly helped us in coping up with COVID 19.
The deadly virus reached US shores in January last year. With the succeeding months, it has gone on an exponential rise. The death toll has touched 2.45 million as per the data of the CDC. The US Health centers have run out of medical equipment, including masks, sanitizers, ICU beds, ventilators, and test kits. The viral infection is on an unstoppable rise. Proper monitoring of the suspected patients of COVID-19 is getting difficult. Half of the world's mask supply came from China; the onset disrupted this supply chain management amid the coronavirus pandemic. Various MNCs are coming forward to step up masks and sanitizers like Apple, Google, and Facebook. Let's revise the 5 lessons from past pandemics to cope with COVID-19:
1.Never take any information for granted
A decade earlier, when Swine Flu hit the globe, the US faced a dearth of masks and sanitizers. History is repeating itself now. The ongoing covid-19 patients are also facing similar conditions. There is a substantial gap between the requirement and availability of ventilators in the USA. The number of ventilators required depends upon the severity, speed, and a number of infected patients. Having one of the top-class medical facilities, Italy failed to provide required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to its health workers. US Hospitals faced the scarcity of test kits and N95 respiratory masks during Swine Flu (H1N1) which engulfed the whole globe. Tents were set up to manage the patient crowd in emergencies. An appropriate analysis of the situation is important too.
The Wall Street Journal told how the ineffective testing kits led to poor patient screening in the initial phase, and ultimately it promoted the transmission of the virus.
2.Exchange of information should be made freely
Improvement in communication capacity works wonders. The maintenance of a proper communication channel between the suppliers and the consumers is the basic thing required in these critical times. One of the main reasons people started hoarding is that they are suspicious of medical goods' ready availability. If the medical equipment is in the market, anyone who needs it can avail of it anytime; on the other hand; they will serve no benefit if they get hoarded into the private lockers of people. A platform is required to create a great medium to establish this communication channel. Bringing transparency in the supply chain is equally essential; various intermediaries involved in the process also exploit the situation. Knowledge-sharing through various means can greatly improve the situation.
3.Always keep alternative passageways open
Maintenance of alternative passageways is a great option to improve the demand-supply curve in the pandemic. If medical centers run out of supply for a particular thing, they must have an alternative to be used in an emergency. Healthcare is a sophisticated industry to manage. Unlike its peer industries, a sudden upsurge of a particular product is frequently visible here. A well-jointed effort should be started to collect masks and gloves from non-health experts like artists. And donate them to health experts. However, the question remains, ‘will coronavirus pandemic finally kill off global supply chains?’
4.Maintain The Trust Of Public In Emergency Health Aids
Thanks to the panic created among the masses, the shortages to help the supply chain of essential medical items sink into a ditch, people start hoarding, and those in urgent need of the medical accessories face medicine drought. During the Swine Flu crisis, the Health experts and Pharma heads were confident that there would be enough stock to cater to the needs of those in an emergency despite low production.
The Novel Coronavirus incubation period is 14 days, which is approximately equal to the incubation period of the Zika virus, which recently attacked Brazil in 2015. The two weeks long incubation period may cause anxiety and panic among the suspected patients. Therefore, the Government should maintain the confidence of the general public. Pandemics murder the hope of life, and it is the responsibility of the Government to keep this hope immortal.
5.Make Use Of The Knowledge Of Medical Expert And Clinical Engineers
Biomedical Engineering, a recently opened branch of engineering, is responsible for the smooth delivery of the required medical items. Clinical Engineers trained in clinical Engineering, one of the sub-fields of Medical Engineering, serve as Medical technology consultants and supervise medical equipment production. They also advise on the modification and improvement of Medical technology.