Brief # 106 Health and Gender Policy
The Need for a Global Response to the Pandemic
By Erin McNemar
May 24, 2021
As COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted all across the United States, it’s important to remember that the pandemic is not over yet. As more and more people across the country gain access to the vaccine, the United States is seeing a steady decline in the number of infections, deaths and hospitalization. It’s easy for people who are experiencing mask fatigue to quickly support the lightening of restrictions. While the United States seems to be experiencing positive trends in getting rid of the virus, it’s also important to remember that the rest of the world is not experiencing the same thing.
One thing that makes the coronavirus disaster so unique is that this crisis impacted the whole world. All around the world, people saw lockdowns, their loved ones getting sick and were afraid of what the future would hold. Although the United States is seeing the number of cases decrease, other countries, such as India, Japan, and Brazil, are seeing a surge. With this virus impacting the whole world, there is a need for a global response in addressing the pandemic.
For some, this may seem like a conversation that is happening too late in the game. With many countries seeing a decline in COVID-19, why are we having this conversation now? This argument I do understand. Back when businesses were shutting down and citizens were going into lockdown, there should have been a conversation around global response. However, the challenge with that became how little everyone knew about the virus.
Despite the pandemic shutting businesses and schools down in March, a mask mandate was not introduced in Massachusetts until May. The coronavirus pandemic was nothing like anything scientists or health officials had ever seen. Obviously in the beginning, there were some missteps. However, it is hard to come up with a plan to deal with something no one has ever dealt with before. For many of these officials, the coronavirus was a big unknown.
Once again I’ll raise the question; why does a global response matter now? Things are opening back up and people seem to be ready to move forward with their lives. This question comes back to the reason why many Americans are now seeing these restrictions lifted; the vaccine. The question also relates to the fact that as long as Covid 19 and its variants are spreading in different parts of the world, the greater the risk that people in highly vaccinated countries may still be exposed and contract the virus or one of its mutations.
As more of the United States population has received the vaccine, the cases, deaths and hospitalizations are trending down. The need for a global response comes from the need to make sure the vaccine is being distributed to countries that need it. If countries such as the United States have additional vaccines, there needs to be a plan in place to insure other countries have access to the surplus. At first, a global response was needed to focus on how to stop the spread of the virus. The answer was the vaccine. Now world leaders must work together on a global response to distribute the vaccine to their citizens.