The mainland of china experienced 3 outbreaks of the SARS virus between November 2002 and May 2004.
The first outbreak of the SARS virus resulted in a pandemic and caused huge financial loss and social panic.
But rigorous policies and control measures that were established prevented further pandemics.
Such efforts control outbreaks, however, these outbreaks revealed many problems in the health system and public understanding of emerging infectious diseases.
Today, the world is facing another pandemic whose origins are similar to the SARS virus outbreak of 2003.
More than 45000 people have lost their lives in a matter of a few months and the whole world is currently in a state of fear and anxiety.
Let’s look at some of the important lessons we should have learned from the SARS virus outbreak of 2003.
3 Lessons which should be learnt from SARS virus 2003
1. Suppression and censorship of Information
On 16th November 2002, an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS virus began in the Guangdong province of China.
Chinese government remained silent and discouraged its press from reporting on the SARS virus and didn’t pass any initial findings to its own people or even to the World Health Organization.
The response from the rest of the world was very slow and for the 774 people who eventually died of the SARS virus, it was too late.
Like the SARS virus in 2003, doctors are accusing the Chinese government of suppressing vital information about the global pandemic we are facing today.
The world is criticizing the underreporting of cases and late intervention by the Chinese government.
We all have a right to access the information about healthcare, the nature and level of a health threat, and how to protect ourselves?
China’s irresponsible actions have severely impacted millions worldwide.
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2. Shortage of masks, protective equipment, and medical infrastructure.
Even though the WHO issues advisories on a regular basis to countries on how to prepare themselves for a global pandemic, In most of the countries around the world, there has been a severe shortage of masks, sanitizers, and protective equipment.
Even in hospitals, where medical professionals expose themselves to hazard while treating the sick.
Not enough ventilators, not enough sanitation, not enough equipment is a grim reminder that we didn’t learn these lessons from the SARS virus 2003.
The essential items should be stocked for use as their need can arise at any point of time.
Billions and Trillions of dollars are spent yearly by governments all around the world on military weapons and war.
Despite thousands of repeated warnings by scientists, not enough money was spent on hospitals, testing facilities, and research centers.
Now many governments of the world are regretting not learning this lesson from the SARS virus outbreak of 2003.
3. People traveling in the Current scenario
In Feb 2003, a doctor from china carrying the SARS virus traveled to a family gathering and stayed at a hotel in Hong Kong.
It was later found out that he spread the virus to all the family members and other healthy people on the floor he was staying who went on to spread the virus in various other countries like South Korea and the USA.
In late 2019, when the current outbreak began, WHO and many countries issued travel warning advisories listing countries that should be avoided by foreign travelers and discouraging international travel in hopes of preventing further transmission.
But it was being reported that young people in the United States and many other countries are taking advantage of the availability of cheap tickets and are traveling, possibly endangering the lives of millions more.
What is the difference between an Epidemic and Pandemic?
If we look at the history of Viruses like SARS virus, MARS virus, Coronavirus and others, almost every decade we are facing pandemics like these which are creating devastating effects on the lives of people all over the world.
We need to prepare ourselves for medical emergencies and start increasing the budgets for medical expenses rather than military expenses.
Moreover, organizations like the WHO have to come forward with all the other countries of the world and try to make some rules and regulations which may help to avoid the spread of such kind of deadly viruses all over the world.
Do comment and let me know if you have any other measures in mind to combat with such deadly viruses.
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