Analysis: How COVID-19 Is Revolutionizing Health Care Around the World
In 2020 alone, there were at least 3 million deaths from COVID-19, though the true figure is probably 2-3 times higher. In 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on and is likely to last well into 2022 and beyond. For ten weeks in a row, from the first week of February, 2021, new daily cases globally rose, driven in part by virus variants and by many countries ending public health measures too soon. There are still around 600,000 new cases every day. Nations like Brazil, Canada, India, Iran, and Turkey—as well as some U.S. states like Michigan and Minnesota—recently experienced COVID-19 surges that in some places overwhelmed their health systems. India, in particular, has become a cautionary tale on how devastating the pandemic can get. While some rich nations like Israel and Britain have ended their own recent surges in part through rapid vaccine roll-outs, low- and middle-income countries have so few vaccine doses that less than 1% of their populations are vaccinated, according to Gro Brundtland, former director general of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Nevertheless, as two global health professors who collaborate with institutions like the WHO and with researchers in countries like India, Kenya, and South Africa, we see COVID-19 revolutionizing worldwide health care in ways that could have lasting benefits. The pandemic has wrought immense suffering while simultaneously accelerating the adoption of new ways to improve global health.
Photo courtesy of Bill Oxford.