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A nurse's perspective on the impact of coronavirus on health and the economy

13 January 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 1

There have been many infectious diseases that have spread to become pandemics throughout history, from the Black Death of the 1300s, through the cholera epidemics of the 1800s to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2019; Piret and Boivin, 2021).

This article is my reflection on the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a formidable phenomenon, brought on by a virus unaffected by socio-economic status. No one is safe from it. It was evident from the outset that the behaviour of the coronavirus could not be predicted by the scientific community (although it was well known that viruses mutate—that is how they survive). In the UK, this lack of understanding and a degree of complacency hampered both the Government's and the NHS's response. According to the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (2021) (which reported to the World Health Assembly and UN), in some countries, a lack of political leadership to acknowledge the seriousness of COVID-19 has cost millions of lives. If the UK had pursued a more proactive approach to the management of the virus initially, as taken by some island nations (such as New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan), this may have resulted in reduced mortality and morbidity.

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