COVID-19 Wave III: were the lessons learned from last year implemented?

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Wireko Andrew Awuah, a Ghanaian medical student of Sumy State University, Ukraine. He is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The COVID-19 Pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to mankind since its outbreak. Several thousands of lives and livelihoods have been lost as a result of the negative impact of COVID-19. The international socio – economic order has also been  adversely affected.

Many countries in Europe and other parts of the world were successful at controlling the disease in the first six months of 2020. What then went wrong resulting in the COVID-19 Wave III?

COMPLACENCY:  When the international community seemed to be making strides to control the disease, complacency set in. We went back to the old ways of doing things irrespective of the fact that COVID-19 is still with us. However, the truth is that, the world is not in normal times and things ought not be done as usual. Social gatherings like large political rallies, which have been going on in many parts of the world since the beginning of this year, especially during this time of the year when some countries in Europe and other parts of the world are easing COVID-19 restrictions.

PANDEMIC FATIGUE :  Pandemic fatigue might be causing people to ignore social distancing and other safety measures, particularly combined with on going vaccination efforts which may encourage people to relax a bit too much. People don’t tend to appreciate the reality. Restrictions have been felt as a blow to pandemic weary people who have seen themselves in and out of restrictions for a year.

SLOW RESPONSE TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF HEALTH SYSTEMS:  

There has been a generally slow response to the improvement of health systems around the world to cope with the increase in COVID-19 cases. For example, many health facilities in the world have a few intensive care units (ICU) while many more do not have any all.

Medical oxygen and other essential medical supplies are inadequate to cope with the current COVID-19 pandemic situation in some severely hit countries, notably India, Brazil and a few others where the cases keep escalating.

RELAX IN COVID-19 COMMUNICATION:

At the initial stages of the outbreak of the pandemic, there were well thought out communication strategies to educate people about the pandemic by various nations, multilateral organizations and other agencies.

However, it is very unfortunate that the intensity of such communication and education is gradually dying out.

THE ‘VACCINE DIPLOMACY’ ISSUES:

The “Vaccine Diplomacy” is where some powerful countries in the world are using the manufacture and supply of COVID-19 vaccines to achieve their own political and economic ends.

CONCLUSION

In my opinion, the pandemic lessons were not well learned from last year. Whatever lessons we might have learned from last year have not been implemented to the best of our ability.

There is therefore the need for the international community, particularly multilateral organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) to further intensify their efforts and also device very effective strategies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the author

Wireko Andrew Awuah is a Ghanaian medical student of Sumy State University, Ukraine. He holds a Diploma in International Law and Global Governance with the International Business Management Institute, Berlin, Germany. He is currently serving as an Editorial Board Member of the Harvard Public Health Review, and 4 other reputable journals in the UK, Canada and India. He also serves as an ambassador for over 15 European and UK medical conferences and over 10 other reputable social networks. A proud winner of reputable awards like the best International Medical Student Award 2020, Sumy State University.

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