15. WHO shall promote nations’ use of Incident Management System for early detection and response to pandemics

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Rapporteur: Ronald St. John

Basic Premise:

There will be pandemics at some time in the future.

Small outbreaks of infectious diseases occur daily throughout the world. Depending on the transmission potential for specific or unknown pathogens, a small cluster of infected people can rapidly become an epidemic at a local, district/provincial or national level. In the absence of a comprehensive and internationally accepted definition of what constitutes a pandemic, for purposes of this paper, a pandemic is an epidemic that is occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people with a high degree of morbidity and mortality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3127276/

Why are pandemics inevitable?

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Pandemic Worsens, Resistance Will Follow

By: John Clarke

Two recent developments in the US seem to capture just how the destructive profit-driven irrationality of capitalism renders it incapable of effectively containing the present global pandemic. On July 10, the US recorded a staggering 70,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, and Florida saw 11,433 cases, with 435 more people hospitalized. The next day, the reopening of “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” Disney World, began in that state. Admission tickets for the four theme parks are already sold out for the month of July. Meanwhile, across the country in Los Angeles, it is reported that the factories used to produce face masks for front-line workers, under the ‘LAProtects’ initiative, have become a major source of coronavirus infection. The low wage sweatshop conditions that the mainly migrant workforce have to endure have proven deadly. Three factories have been closed after three hundred contracted COVID-19 and four died.

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Source ourworldindata.org.

After the Pandemic, Germany Is Poised to Come Out Ahead

Germany has won widespread praise for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s calm leadership in the face of Covid-19, but at The New York Times, Morgan Stanley’s Ruchir Sharma writes that the country will likely emerge as the “big winner” in the world’s post-Covid-19 economy, thanks not only to its public-health response to the virus, but to pre-pandemic fiscal health and a forward-looking, export-focused economy.
“While other countries worry that recent layoffs may become permanent, most German workers stayed on the payroll thanks to rapid expansion of the Kurzarbeit, a century-old government system that pays companies to retain employees on shortened hours through temporary crises. Germany was able to expand the Kurzarbeit—and much else in the way of social services—thanks to its famous frugality,” Sharma writes.

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Europe’s Recovery Deal: Hamilton Moment, or Poison Pill?

EU leaders have agreed on a Covid-19 economic-recovery package that includes collective borrowing to fund efforts in the hardest-hit countries, and it’s being universally hailed as a landmark. When the plan was first floated by France and Germany, some called it a “Hamiltonian moment”—a reference to Alexander Hamilton’s union-saving compromise to assume states’ Revolutionary War debts collectively, which began America’s federalized fiscal system. At the European Council on Foreign Relations, Jana Puglierin and Ulrike Esther Franke suggest Paris and Berlin, having overcome the EU’s longstanding obstacle of richer countries’ reluctance to bail out the bloc’s economic stragglers, might form a political–economic engine driving Europe toward coherence and geopolitical boldness.

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“Without Early Warning You Can’t Have Early Response”

By Grant Robertson

“Months before the COVID-19 outbreak, the federal government’s early warning system went silent, just as it was needed most. The change left Canada poorly prepared as the virus began to spread rapidly around the world.
On the morning of Dec. 31, as word of a troubling new outbreak in China began to reverberate around the world, in news reports and on social media, a group of analysts inside the federal government and their bosses were caught completely off guard.
The virus had been festering in China for weeks, possibly months, but the Public Health Agency of Canada appeared to know nothing about it – which was unusual because the government had a team of highly specialized doctors and epidemiologists whose job was to scour the world for advance warning of major health threats. And their track record was impressive.

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Canada’s Healthcare System isn’t so Great!

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Especially during the pandemic crisis, I’ve heard too many platitudinous praises of Canada’s supposed universality of healthcare.

I, one who champions truly comprehensive health-services coverage, had tried accessing, for example, essential therapy coverage in our public system; within, however, there were/are important health treatments that are either universally non-existent or, more likely, universally inaccessible, except to those with relatively high incomes and/or generous employer health insurance coverage.

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Officers Knew About Zika Way Before Outbreak!

The Zika outbreak in French Polynesia (circa. 2013) is a prime example of why this incident system would benefit global health. Apparently, regional health offices on remote Pacific islands were reporting cases of Zika as early as 2012/2013. However, due to the remoteness and delayed communications between regional outposts and central data processing centers – it was not flagged in a timely manner.

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There seems to be huge support for Incident Management Systems in southern Africa. If you google the term, the organizations discussion and practicing it are generally located there. And they seem to have a good time together socializing. Most of the other articles you find about the subject are wooden and technical. Hello, South Africa!

Climate Change will Expose us to Age-Old Pathogens

Several years ago a frozen reindeer in Siberia defrosted, releasing anthrax in a remote Russian village, killing over 70 people. Is there a risk of frozen, Arctic graves defrosting, and releasing diseases thought to be extinct and/or uncommon? This Anthrax case study reminded me of reports of diphtheria, smallpox, and Spanish flu in remote Arctic regions.

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In her video talk show/podcast with me (see https://youtu.be/nusQpND1F5U) Ann Swidler gives a lot of credit to George W. Bush for making medication affordable in Africa for HIV/AIDS. That is not only altruistic, but also a sensible measure of national security. The lesson for a world grappling with Covid-19, is that international cooperation is essential. Viruses do not stop at borders, hence no one is truly safe until we are all safe. The essential plan is: Early detection and early intervention!