COVID-19: review, impact and next steps  

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Kengo Nathan Ezie, a 4th year medical student at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (FMBS) Garoua, Cameroon. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


An outbreak in the Chinese cityWuhan in December 2019 led to the discovery of a novel virus. Unlike human war, pandemics are most friendly of man’s enemies as you never see the adversity coming. As such, the resurgence of a pandemic such as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), having several variants, had no respect for race, economy, social class, religion nor continental boundaries as it suddenly spread all over the globe. 

It has been 3 years since the resurgence of this virus and as of the 20th December, 2022 the virus has affected 658,619,846 people and has claimed 6,674,533 lives globally representing about 0.08% of World population [1] with a significant drop in new cases in recent months. 

The impact created is yet to be forgotten as all works of life were disrupted including but not restricted to: Academics as 45 nations in the region of Europe and Central Asia closed their schools during the pandemic’s height, affecting about 185 million students [2]. Worst still in low income countries (LICs) where adaptation to this interruption were not easily substituted with e learning. 

Health wise, the fear, stigma and insufficiency of healthcare systems due to the disruption of routine immunizations and health service delivery, a decrease in the number of persons seeking care, and a lack of funding for non-COVID-19 services, the pandemic has probably increased fatalities from other causes accounting for the “excess deaths”[3]. 

The worst worldwide economic crisis in more than a century was brought on by the  pandemic, which sent shockwaves across the global economy. Because the pandemic’s revenue losses exposed and exacerbated some inherent economic fragilities. In 2020, it became evident that many people and businesses were unprepared to handle an income shock of that size and length [4]. 

In spite the human impact, it is worth noting that the pandemic was environmentally friendly as the scenario considerably improves air quality in numerous cities throughout the globe, lowers GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions, diminishes water pollution and noise, and eases strain on tourist spots, which may help with the ecological system’s rehabilitation [5].

Conscious of how tremendous the impact  was, it is but normal that just like a primo infection reaction, the world must learn and be prompt to respond to such impromptu and lenthy shocks irrespective of its nature or origin. It is thus necessary to upgrade learning systems to match with the digital age making use of virtual facilities, develop a united and strong healthcare system which is alert even in the LICs as such disasters are unpredictable. Equally, To guarantee that governments maintain their capacity to successfully support the recovery, the crisis response will also need to include measures that address the dangers brought on by high levels of public debt as this diminishes the government’s capacity to fund social safety nets that can help mitigate the effects of the crisis on poverty and inequality and support individuals, families, and businesses in the event of setbacks during the recovery.

References 

[1]  Coronavirus cases: Worldometer. Available at: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ (Accessed: December 21, 2022).

[2] Robin Donnelly, H.A.P. (2021) The impact of covid-19 on education – recommendations and opportunities for Ukraine, World Bank. World Bank Group. Available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/opinion/2021/04/02/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-education-recommendations-and-opportunities-for-ukraine (Accessed: December 20, 2022).

[3] The impact of COVID-19 on global health goals. World Health Organization. World Health Organization. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-global-health-goals (Accessed: December 21, 2022).

[4] World Bank Group (2022) WDR 2022 Chapter 1. introduction, World Bank. World Bank Group. Available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/wdr2022/brief/chapter-1-introduction-the-economic-impacts-of-the-covid-19-crisis (Accessed: December 21, 2022).

[5] Rume T, Islam SMD. Environmental effects of COVID-19 pandemic and potential strategies of sustainability. Heliyon. 2020 Sep;6(9):e04965. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04965. Epub 2020 Sep 17. PMID: 32964165; PMCID: PMC7498239.

About the author

Kengo Nathan Ezie is a 4th year medical student at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (FMBS) Garoua, Cameroon. After serving his institution as local officer for research exchange (LORE), he currently occupies the position of the Vice President for Members for his national medical organization (CAMSA) alongside other leadership post in his institution. He is an aspiring future neurosurgeon with passion for public health and research. He has authored and co-authored 3 scientific publications and loves choral music with lots of leadership potentials. He is rechable through Whatsapp at +237 653 242 852 and on LinkedIn: Kengo Nathan.

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