Each country should bolster preparedness for COVID-19 as global cases top 100 mln: expert
NEW YORK, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The biggest lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that every country needs to bolster its pandemic preparedness, said Steffanie Strathdee, associate dean of Global Health Sciences at the University of California San Diego.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Strathdee said, "100 million cases is a grim milestone in this pandemic, even more so because these cases all occurred within a single year."
Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 100 million on Tuesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
The figure of 100 million "should be a wakeup call for richer countries like the United States, which accounts for 25 percent of the global case burden: epidemics are not restricted to resource-poor countries," said Strathdee, who is also the co-author of a non-fiction thriller The Perfect Predator.
"COVID-19 caught the world off guard and it shouldn't have. Every century has endured four to five pandemics and we were long overdue," the expert said.
Strathdee stressed the need to step up preparedness at different levels as other pandemics could appear in the future.
"COVID-19 was the first pandemic of the 21st century but it won't be the last. The superbug pandemic is right behind it, for example. We need to bolster the global health architecture to ensure that we are ready for the next one," she added.
The World Health Organization, the United Nations and other agencies have an active role to play and private-public partnerships with industry and non-governmental organizations shall be engaged, said Strathdee.
On a global level, pandemic preparedness needs to be hard-wired into the global health infrastructure and more investment needs to be made to coordinate prevention efforts, the expert noted.
"Finally, countries must all work together to ensure that no country is left behind; within countries, we need to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our communities are protected as well. We are only as strong as our weakest link," Strathdee said. Enditem