John Risley explains how COVID prepared us for the next health emergency

Posted on September 01, 2021 | By John Risley | 0 Comments

Though we will be living with Covid in its various forms and strains for a long time, it’s not too early to reflect on what we did wrong, what we did right and—most importantly—how we can better prepare for future public heath emergencies.

I have a unique perspective through my role as chair of the CDL Rapid Screening Consortium. This group formed in August 2020 to carry out antigen testing for essential employees who simply had to come to work. We have since partnered with Health Canada to make the service available more broadly across the country.

The pandemic showed governments around the globe how inter-connected the world has become and how difficult it is to create regulatory barriers, or even physical ones, in an attempt to prevent or slow the progress of a highly contagious virus. That lesson should have been learned with the terrible toll the Spanish flu exacted in the aftermath of World War I. And we were certainly reminded of that by the various flu pandemics we have had since, like SARS. Yet, despite those hard lessons learned and relearned again, we were still disgracefully underprepared.

“Social media cannot be allowed to flourish in a vacuum of science and the facts. We paid for it with misinformation, and we continue to pay for it through those who are still not willing to be vaccinated.”


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