Monkeypox is another viral infection that likely shares many similarities with smallpox in terms of symptoms. This infection can cause fever, skin rash, and muscle pain. In severe cases, monkeypox can be fatal. There is no specific treatment, and accurate diagnosis is also challenging due to the overlap of symptoms with other diseases. The rising number of monkeypox cases in the US has become a public health concern, largely because it has not spread outside of African regions or has historically been infrequent. However, today more than 6600 people in the country are suffering from this infection, prompting the government to declare an emergency. The WHO has also called it a global health emergency, which is what they did at the time of the coronavirus.
That The monkeypox virus can also be transmitted quickly and spread through human contact. Some believe a faster response is needed before this infection becomes a mass outbreak. In terms of the preparedness and response system, the COVID-19 experience is proving to be the most reliable source of insights. Here’s something to learn from it.
What has COVID-19 taught us about dealing with a pandemic?
One of the most critical aspects was the cooperation and collaboration between government agencies and business people at different levels. It played an essential role in containing negative economic fallout and helped the government respond quickly to health consequences and slow down the impact of the virus. It has also proven useful in improving workplace safety amid fears of COVID-19. However, almost 60% of people think strict coronavirus measures should no longer apply in work environments, as per The latest survey from MyBioSource.
Still, with changing public health mandates, company leaders had to make quick decisions and adapt to the lockdown option due to a lack of preparation in the country. It proved costly, but had its benefits. Today the situation can get better when private companies and public institutions join forces and ensure the safety of essential service employees so that they can continue to work even in an emergency.
Another benefit of bringing together public and private actors has been the rapid development of vaccines. Collaboration between private companies, the National Institutes of Health, and other research centers helped produce efficient vaccines that protected against the severity of CVOID-19, minimized deaths, hospitalizations, and so on. Also, the distribution could be more efficient.
Another positive outcome of the public-private partnership has been the expansion of telemedicine services, ensuring timely care for patients regardless of their location. This would not have been possible without regulatory reforms that gave hospitals the flexibility to cope with the surge and encouraged healthcare workers to continue providing their services.
At the same time, the coronavirus situation also served as a window into the country’s deficiencies, necessitating improvements in healthcare accessibility and addressing the inequalities exposed by the pandemic. Everyone saw how people with diabetes, hypertension, physical disabilities and others were the most vulnerable. It revealed the need to reimburse providers to improve health at multiple levels and empower Americans to fight public health challenges in the future. More specifically, everyone should have access to health care, no matter what.
Another lesson learned from COVID-19 was the need for data accuracy. For example, wastewater tests helped ring the alarm bell early on for the emergence of the coronavirus. Genome-based studies have also proved useful in detecting new variants and treating them.
What does it take to prepare for future pandemics? Some noticeable challenges
There needs to be country-level preparation that includes the development of resilient and robust primary care health systems to detect virus outbreaks, treat patients, vaccinate and others. Then, as mentioned, coordination between corporate leaders and governments, regulatory reform, data and other dynamics can also improve the situation.
The country has 900 hospital chains and healthcare systems providing data; the most significant share comes from 200 hospitals. However, the US has 6000 hospitals, and to get test reports for diseases like coronavirus, monkeypox, or others, public health officials across the state have to go to hundreds of places to share with federal agencies. Then there is also an issue with the way the data collection is done. Many locations across the country use electronic record-keeping methods, allowing healthcare professionals to document medical cases for easy sharing. But even these mechanisms suffer from compatibility issues and struggle to ensure smooth data exchange, which is a significant setback.
However, the positive step forward is the NIH’s collaborative database systems used by over 2000 scientists for COVID-related queries, including long COVID symptoms, reinfections, status in rural and urban belts, etc. The White House has also noted improvements in the Database infrastructure emphasized.
As for monkeypox, the government has reportedly released more than a million doses of the vaccine and boosted diagnostic capacity to allow for 80,000 tests a week. New York, Illinois and California recently announced Moneybox as a public health emergency.