Discussion: COVID-19 is testing emergency preparedness. What’s next?

The World
Updated on
A man wearing a work uniform with an orange top walks down an aisle with several beds lining both sides.

The coronavirus pandemic has put incredible pressure on health systems across the globe. Total confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world jumped Monday to more than 1,270,000, with more than 70,000 deaths.

Considering how far the novel coronavirus has spread, experts and ordinary citizens alike are questioning authorities about emergency preparedness.

Related: Emergency authoritarianism? Hungary’s Orbán uses coronavirus to seize more power

Residents in Lombardy, Italy’s worst-hit region, have scrambled for scarce protective face masks and makeshift alternatives. Meanwhile, US officials girded the country for a “peak death week” as the accelerating American death toll closed the gap with Italy and Spain, the countries with the most fatalities to date.

Are countries prepared for COVID-19? Increasingly, the answer seems to be no. So what’s next?

The World’s Elana Gordon moderated a live discussion with Leonard Marcus, co-director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as part of new weekly series taking your questions to the experts. Marcus examined the many factors that make or break an effective crisis response.

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