A look into the future from the edge of the first pandemic year. Op-Ed by Ala Tocarciuc

“The pandemic is not over yet. We still have lessons to learn and follow. We have to have more flexibility and adaptability, in those related to the tactics and strategies, applied in managing the current pandemic..."

We have reached a first pandemic year edge in Moldova and in the world. It's a kind of intermediate psychological boundary, which we all cross, without knowing when the pandemic will really end. It is also a good opportunity to look to the future and make some conclusions.

Lesson 1: Global pandemic requires local management

The pandemic was announced as a global event by the WHO on 11 March 2020. The management of the pandemic was carried out by each independent country. Every country in the world was left in the first weeks of the pandemic virtually on its own. The borders have been locked and the international procurement has been shut down. Countries, that had no reserves of individual protective materials suffered the most in the first months of the pandemic. The creation of global alliance structures took some time. Local capacities play an important role in managing the start of a crisis in any country.

Lesson 2: Medical systems must be prepared for pandemic

Although there were several legislative provisions on the need to prepare the medical system for emergency situations, very few components of the medical system were able to respond quickly to the medical emergency. Emergency medicine, exceptional situation departments required additional time and resources to adapt to the situation and to be able to manage the situation.  The medical system must be prepared for permanent medical emergencies.

Lesson 3. The healthcare system should be seen as a support function for the economic field

The medical system has long been seen as a burden on the State. In fact, the medical system, like the education system, are areas that provide direct support to the economy. Healthy and educated people can ensure the economic growth upwards. A paradigm shift and an improvement in the functionality of the medical and educational system are required.

Lesson 4. Classical epidemiology works and must be the basis for decisions

Although epidemiological rules are as old as the World, however the isolating the sick people, respecting social distance, wearing masks worked well in this pandemic also. Vaccination still remains among the basic methods, designed to help us overcome this crisis. An epidemiological crisis must be managed by epidemiologists.

Lesson 5. The involvement of modern technologies has helped to maintain the control

Modern technologies and artificial intelligence have been involved in various fields and for various purposes. Thanks to modern technologies it was possible to develop an effective vaccine in record short time, keep an exchange of information between different countries on the various platforms. The tracking models for infected patients, assuring the carried out various testing methods, were maintained in real time. That helped maintain control of the pandemic.

Lesson 6. Balanced communication is one of the driving forces for exiting the pandemic

Proper communication is important in peacetime. The pandemic is a kind of wartime. Any deviation admitted by opinion leaders creates confusion. On the communication side, technologies have been widely used in promoting conspiracy theories and spreading false information. These events have undermined the general population's confidence in the effectiveness of anti-epidemic measures in some countries.

The pandemic is not over yet. We still have lessons to learn and follow. We have to have more flexibility and adaptability, in those related to the tactics and strategies, applied in managing the current pandemic.

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