Even if one or more vaccines emerge that promise to make people less susceptible to COVID-19, the public-health problem will not be eliminated. But policymakers can avert some foreseeable problems by starting to address key questions about financing and distribution now. The toughest political question of all, though, is likely to concern access. Who should receive the initial doses of any vaccine? Who determines who is allowed into the queue and in what order? By Richard N. Haass
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Results for Op-Ed Global Health
Wednesday 17 June 2020
London, United Kingdom
Governments cannot openly admit that the "controlled easing” of COVID-19 lockdowns in fact means controlled progress toward so-called herd immunity to the virus. Because there is currently no COVID-19 vaccine, governments have had to find other ways to prevent “excess deaths.” Most have opted for lockdowns, which remove entire populations from the path of the virus and thus deprive it of hosts. But this strategy has a terrible weakness: governments cannot keep their populations locked down until a vaccine arrives. Apart from anything else, the economic cost would be unthinkable. So, they have to ease the lockdown gradually. By Robert Skidelsky
Tuesday 7 April 2020
As government mandated lockdowns to combat the coronavirus pandemic affect a rising share of the global population, fewer will die of COVID-19, as well as other transmissible diseases. But how should we weigh those benefits against the costs of unemployment, social isolation, and widespread bankruptcies? By Peter Singer and Michael Plant.
Friday 3 April 2020
China's success in "flattening the curve" of the COVID-19 epidemic has been held up as a model for the rest of the world to emulate. But what the world really needs to understand is that "victory" required massive sacrifices by doctors, nurses, and other health workers whose names we will never know. The doctors and nurses on the front lines having lived through hell, see little to celebrate, much to mourn, and reason to remain fearful.
Tuesday 24 March 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic shuts down the world’s economies, stock markets plummet, and unemployment rises, policymakers will be forced to figure out how to contain the outbreak while preventing financial and economic collapse. Most economic proposals in developed countries focus on cash payments to people, deferred tax payments, and business bailouts. But biomedicine is critical to saving the economy ...a simple immunity test could tell us who doesn’t need to be taken out of economic circulation... and impede an economic Armageddon.- Mark Roe.
Saturday 14 March 2020
No one knows where or how fast a new virus will spread. We cannot calculate the risks with confidence, and we will know only in hindsight whether we overreacted or underreacted. Given this uncertainty, how we respond to a viral outbreak is as crucial as the nature of the pathogen. And how we respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus should be guided by what we have learned from past viral epidemics. - By Gerd Gigerenzer.
Monday 9 March 2020
New York, USA
Like climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of why we need multilateralism in a globalized world. Rather than resorting to thinly veiled racism and isolationist policies, global leaders – particularly the United States – should have started organizing a collective response weeks ago. China’s experience with the virus in January and February is likely to be repeated in much of the rest of the world in March and April. We should be preparing intelligently...not succumbing to irrational panic. By Kevin Rudd.
Tuesday 3 March 2020
The apocalyptic images of the locked-down Chinese city of Wuhan have reached us all. The world is holding its breath over the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and governments are taking or preparing drastic measures that will necessarily sacrifice individual rights and freedoms for the general good. ...But few mention, let alone confront, the underlying cause of the epidemic. - Peter Singer.
Friday 12 July 2019
An account of trauma will serve as a reminder to leaders around the world that violence, mental and sexual trauma, and substance abuse are interrelated issues that can have a deep and lasting impact on the lives of children. The evidence for this is overwhelming. This includes online abuse. The impact of violence lasts long after the abuse itself. Victims often experience lifelong social, emotional, and cognitive consequence and are more likely to become abusers themselves. By Zoleka Mandela, Etienne Krug, and Howard Taylor.
Wednesday 10 July 2019
From infrastructure damage caused by extreme weather events to drought-induced food insecurity, there are many climate risks for which the world should urgently be preparing. But one of the areas where climate change poses arguably the most significant risk is barely being discussed: human health. By Seth Berkley.
Thursday 30 May 2019
New York, USA
The immune system – an intricate network of cells, tissues, and organs – is the human body’s primary mechanism for staying healthy. Decoding it should be central to our efforts to understand and fight illness, whether non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, or infectious ones such as tuberculosis, malaria, and Ebola. By fully leveraging the power of our immune systems, we could find new ways to fight disease everywhere. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be the keys to this achievement - because of the vast size and complexity of the human immune system. It is billions of times larger than the human genome. By Wayne Koff.
Saturday 2 February 2019
Our current diets are bad for our health and are harming the planet. Two billion people are now overweight or obese. Poor diet is the biggest cause of noncommunicable disease in the world, posing a greater risk of morbidity and mortality than unsafe sex, alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse combined. By Line Gordon.
Friday 18 January 2019
One of the biggest obstacles to reducing the rate of unplanned pregnancies is the lack of sex education in schools. If more teenagers had access to sex education and contraception, fewer girls would have their lives interrupted by pregnancy. Only by empowering women and girls with the resources to control their reproduction will the grim statistics that have long burdened Guyana – and many other countries – begin to change for the better. By Patricee Douglas
Monday 14 January 2019
New York, USA
In a world divided by conflict and greed, the Global Fund’s fight against AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria is a matter of enlightened self-interest and a reminder of how much humanity can accomplish when we cooperate to save lives. For public and private donors, that means providing the financing needed to eliminate all three scourges by 2030.
Thursday 6 December 2018
Each year, some 700,000 people die from drug-resistant infections worldwide. But superbugs also pose a threat to the effectiveness of modern medicine; if left unaddressed, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) could make more infections untreatable, cancer therapies ineffective, routine surgeries impossible, and even childbirth unsafe. By Seth Berkley and Jeremy Farrar
Friday 19 October 2018
Unfortunately, few agricultural workers are in a position to advocate for their rights. Seasonal and rural workers lack access to collective bargaining, and undocumented migrant workers avoid unions for fear that employers will retaliate by calling the immigration authorities. Moreover, basic benefits such as social security, health care, and workers’ compensation are typically nonexistent. By Hilal Elver and Melissa Shapiro
Tuesday 25 September 2018
San Francisco, USA
The addictive qualities of sugar are embedded in its economics. Not everyone who is exposed to sugar becomes addicted; but, as with alcohol, many do. In fact, sugar’s allure is a big reason why the processed food industry’s current profit margin is 5% (up from 1%), and why so many of us are sick, fat, stupid, broke, depressed, and just plain miserable. Robert H. Lustig.
Monday 24 September 2018
At the United Nations General Assembly in New York, global heads of state are meeting on September 26-27 to highlight two major health threats. On the first day, they will discuss strategies to end tuberculosis (TB), an ancient bacterium that remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease. On the second day, world leaders will discuss plans to beat leading NCDs such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular and lung disease. Combined, NCDs are responsible for seven out of every ten deaths globally. By Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Wednesday 25 July 2018
Brighton, United Kingdom
For now, I share the excitement of many that a new tool to tackle HIV may be on the horizon. This prospect will be a topic of much discussion when prevention strategists gather in Amsterdam this week for the 22nd International AIDS Conference. But, no matter what becomes of this latest vaccine-related discovery, the world will still have a long way to go before HIV is eradicated. To increase our chances of success, prevention programming must remain at the top of the agenda.
Thursday 7 June 2018
In many parts of the world, there are simply no more conventional freshwater resources available to meet growing demand. Beyond limiting economic development, the lack of sufficient freshwater resources threatens the wellbeing of billions of people by causing conflict, social unrest, and migration. The only way to address this challenge is by radically rethinking water-resource planning and management in a way that emphasizes the creative exploitation of unconventional water sources. By Manzoor Qadir and Vladimir Smakhtin