Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

Dominik Mertz

Dominik Mertz, MD, MSc, is an associate professor of medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at McMaster University.

What should the COVID-19 pandemic teach us in terms of the risk of future international-scale epidemics? What lessons on public health should we learn from the course of this pandemic?

I think there will be many lessons to be learned. My main concern is that by the time we hit the next pandemic, those lessons will be forgotten again.

The main [thing] in my mind is we shouldn’t panic. Whenever we panic, we make wrong decisions. We all overreact or underreact at times and if that can be prevented, that would be great. But I think that’s where our human nature kicks in, right?

[It’s about] not forgetting the learnings from COVID-19. What worked, what didn’t work, how to communicate with the public. I think those things hopefully will not be forgotten and can be reused in future pandemics.

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