For years infectious disease experts who specialize in pandemics, including some of my colleagues, have said the question isn’t if there would be another pandemic but rather when. In fact, in 2016, we held a Bold Thinkers Series event called “Global Health Security Threats: Are We Prepared?” COVID-19 is just the kind of event they predicted.
The understandable focus of the press has been that the U.S. did not devise COVID-19 testing fast enough and that most countries lack the surge capacity needed for hospital beds, ventilators, masks, personal protective equipment for healthcare providers, and other supplies. But there are two lessons we’ve learned from previous pandemics that have gotten less attention and that also are critical.
We learned one lesson when Abt executed the Zika awareness campaign in 2016. We discovered how important it is to adopt the fundamental components of effective social and behavior change communication (communications). They include: