FACTORS THAT LED TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Disregard for social distancing
Due to activities related to survival, such as in markets and locations where people collect communal water from boreholes, many people did not adhere to social distance.
Due to inadequate community facilities, this gain caused the illnesses to spread across the community.
Lack of running water
The lack of running water in communities and hospitals hastens the spread of COVID-19. This made it challenging for employees, patients, and community members to wash their hands and prevent the spread of infection. Additionally, this caused COVID-19 to spread quickly throughout communities and medical facilities.
In many countries, there is a severe housing shortage, and many people live in packed homes.
As a result, infectious disorders like COVID-19 are spread more readily.
Shortage of clinical supplies
There have been reports of inadequate hygiene in hospitals as a result of a supply and drug shortage. Many visitors to the clinic run the danger of contracting further illnesses.
Because the medical staff and patients were unable to protect themselves from COVID-19, the medical facilities constituted a threat to both groups.
Shortage personal protective equipment (PPE)
PPE and alcohol gel for use in hospitals and other medical institutions were reported to be in low supply. Additionally, they reported experiencing worry and anxiety due to a fear of getting COVID-19. Due to a lack of PPE and alcohol gel, hospital patients were more susceptible to COVID-19, which led to co-morbidities.
Selective enforcement of restrictions and corruption
The lockdown regulations were only selectively enforced, and some people broke the regulations by engaging in corruption, which made it easier for infectious diseases to spread.
This meant that the lockdown’s intended effect on the COVID-19 epidemic was less potent than it had been.
Before a contagious disease spreads from one person to another, it always has a source. A vector is necessary for a communicable disease to spread to new areas, and for COVID 19, humans made suitable vectors. There was an inflow of people with COVID 19 into numerous countries before they could block their borders.
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LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
- The pandemic has highlighted the significant disparities in access, equity, and justice. A lot needs to happen before diagnostics can truly be used to address health disparities.
- This epidemic also brought to light numerous weaknesses in our global supply chains. We had never considered the possibility of a swab or Tyvek packing shortage for diagnostic procedures. And one of the things we can take away from this is that we might need to reassess some of those supply chain components in terms of diagnostic testing and self-testing.
- As we started noticing differences in the expression of COVID-19, we started to realize that multigenerational, crowded households were at the greatest risk, in part because the elderly were experiencing increased exposure. This is, in my opinion, a really dramatic illustration of the importance of patient input.
- It’s important to strengthen community- and place-based initiatives. We are aware that the key to significantly increasing trust in science, engagement with the vaccination, and clinical trial investigations is engaging with trusted communicators and trustworthy community structures, such as community-based groups and faith-based organizations.
- It is important to note that disparities in COVID-19 transmission, infection, and mortality are not due to the fact that racial and ethnic minorities are inherently more vulnerable to the virus, but rather are the result of social injustices that have increased the prevalence of comorbid conditions like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other comorbidities as well as social injustices that increase the likelihood of exposures.
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RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PREVENTING FUTURE OCCURRENCES OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND OTHER COVID-19-LIKE PANDEMICS
Improving Technology and Care Delivery Innovations
- Link diagnostic test results to the delivery of appropriate and timely treatment.
- Create a multi-stakeholder consortium to collaboratively define the regulatory pathway and what information is needed at all levels to accelerate the diagnostic approval process.
- Develop multiplex molecular platforms that can differentiate common diseases and scale them to provide greater patient access globally.
Public Health and Policy Opportunities
- Increase sustainability and investment in public health infrastructure to better manage diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance of infectious diseases.
- Develop a global standardized data system that allows for interoperability across health systems and rapid identification of outbreaks.
- Use digital technologies to develop targeted public health messaging that considers rapidly changing information and is responsive to the needs of the public.
Emphasizing Patient-Centered Care
- Increase the accessibility of diagnostic testing to the public.
- Expand the use of home-based diagnostic tests to improve access to and reduce the costs of diagnosis.
- Leverage community-centered approaches to build trust in science and public health.
- Codesign systems and tools with communities to help patients take control of their health care.
Focusing on Equity
- Increase clinician cultural competence and awareness.
- Enhance data collection on race and ethnicity and improve engagement, recruitment, and retention of racial and ethnic minorities in clinical trials.
- Emphasize research transparency to assess whether study populations represent the population affected by the disease.
- Develop effective approaches to address misinformation and disinformation, and build community media literacy capacity.
- Enhance diagnostics capability and capacity for global genomic surveillance of key endemic diseases in low- and middle-income countries.
Identifying Research Priorities
- Disaggregate data collection, and use innovative approaches to reduce misclassification errors and to improve the quality of data systems.
- Collect social determinants of health and demographic data using standardized measures.
- Develop initiatives to understand and mitigate the challenges associated with home-based diagnostic tests.
- Continue initiatives to understand the long-term effects of COVID-19 to accurately and efficiently improve diagnosis.