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Reflecting on Lessons for a Pandemic

In an “Intention to Treat” audio interview, NEJM editors Harvey Fineberg and Eric Rubin “take stock of the failures and successes of the Covid-19 response and elucidate their lessons for combating the next major public health threat, whatever it may be.”

“Looking forward to the next outbreak, I think that it is important not just to emphasize the failures that we’ve had, and there have been many, but the successes that we’ve had,” Dr. Rubin said. “We are able to protect people against severe disease and death now, for the most part. And a lot of the measures that we utilized throughout remain important now, the social measures as opposed to just the medical interventions like vaccines and like therapies. I think that when a new outbreak occurs, it’s really important to continue to use the lessons that we’ve already learned.”

Dr. Fineberg added: “I hope that people can appreciate that we learn as we go in a new situation like a pandemic, that the best advice that comes forward based on available knowledge is always at a given moment in time. So looking at good evidence and expertise that has the right motivation as well as scientific background is increasingly important, and being able to appreciate what should be done as new knowledge arises or as the situation itself evolves over time.”

Source: New England Journal of Medicine