The number of Covid-19 deaths is a tragedy and “a major global failure on multiple levels,” says the Lancet commission

“Too many governments have failed to respect the basic rules of institutional rationality and transparency, too many people — often under the influence of misinformation — have respected and protested basic public health measures, and the world’s major powers have failed to cooperate to control the pandemic,” the commissioners wrote.

The World Health Organization says more than 6.4 million people have died from Covid-19 as of Sunday, but some experts say the true number is likely lower.

The Lancet Commission report is addressed to UN member states, UN agencies and others, including the G20 and G7.

The commission specified that it is “not a research group, nor a group of biomedical specialists”, but focused on science-based policy, global cooperation and international finance, to propose “guidelines for strengthening the multilateral system” to address global emergencies and achieve sustainable development. .

Flaws identified by the commission include a lack of timely notification of the initial outbreak, a “costly delay” in recognizing the airborne spread of the virus, a lack of coordination between countries on eradication strategies, failure of governments to analyze evidence and adopt best policies. to control and manage the pandemic, insufficient funding for low- and middle-income countries, lack of equitable distribution of essential commodities, lack of data, poor enforcement of pre-pandemic biosecurity standards, lack of counter-disinformation and lack of safety nets. for vulnerable populations.

“The central lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic is the need for national preparedness along with global cooperation and joint action,” the commission wrote. “Most countries do not have a meaningful pandemic preparedness plan.”

The commission also stated that the World Health Organization “acted too cautiously and too slowly on several important issues”, including warning about the human transmission of the virus and declaring a public health emergency of international concern. Many governments were also too slow to recognize the importance of the outbreak, as the response was known to be urgent.

In addition to organizational and government failures, there was public opposition to public health and social measures that “seriously hindered” the control of the epidemic.

The commission noted “some important bright spots” in the response to Covid-19, most importantly the development of vaccines.

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The report makes several recommendations, including global coordination of efforts to end the pandemic with countries maintaining a vaccine scale-up strategy; intensifying the search for the origin of the virus by WHO, governments and the scientific community; General strengthening of WHO; dual pathways to prevent future emerging infectious diseases, focusing on the prevention of natural and research-related emissions; and strengthening national health systems.

The Lancet Covid-19 Committee, chaired by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs of Columbia University, was created in mid-2020 and has 28 members with expertise in areas such as public policy, international cooperation, epidemiology and vaccine enology. The commissioners oversaw 12 working groups that met regularly throughout the pandemic and included more than 170 experts.

A task force, which analyzed the origin and early spread of the pandemic, was completed. The commission said it took the decision “to ensure the transparency and objectivity of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission’s report.”

The new report states that “the three hypotheses associated with the research are still plausible: infection in the field, infection of a natural virus in the laboratory, and infection of a manipulated virus in the laboratory. There has been no independent, transparent, and science-based investigation into the bioengineering of SARS-like viruses that was underway before the outbreak of COVID-19 it’s done.”