Around a year ago, the World Health Organization’s director-general tasked a panel of experts with assessing an important question: How did we end up in this pandemic chaos? The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response, a 13-member committee, issued a lengthy, meaningful, yet essentially evasive reaction on Wednesday.
The panel was tasked with providing an objective, unbiased, and systematic assessment of the global solution to the pandemic. The panel appointed by WHO started working in September 2020, and it is now May 2021.
What panel has to say about the Wuhan outbreak?
“We were not protected from the COVID-19 pandemic by the new scheme. It will not shield us from the next pandemic danger if we do not move now to change it “In a statement released with the findings, panel co-chair Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former president of Liberia, said.
Their study is out, and it does not point the finger at China. It makes no mention of China’s cover-ups or its crackdown on informants. It makes no mention of China’s lag in announcing the Wuhan disease. The paper goes into great depth on how the pandemic started without mentioning any countries or leaders.
The shortcomings combined to produce a “dangerous mix,” which included bad decisions by world officials, a refusal to address inequality, and a lack of cooperation, both of which contributed to the pandemic being a “catastrophic human disaster.”
The discussion centered around how the virus spread across the world. Helen Clark, the former prime minister of New Zealand, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former president of Liberia, headed the group.
We learned, for example, that Chinese laboratories began detecting the latest virus before the WHO was even informed that an epidemic was occurring, thanks to interviews with authorities, a scan of WHO records, and a careful reading of related news and analysis.
We can see how potentially life-saving knowledge spread through social media and Chinese-language news coverage rather than through traditional outlets intended to detect this type of danger.
Everything you need to know about the report!
The article is 86 pages long and is titled “COVID-19: Making it the Last Pandemic.” It will be introduced to global leaders at the G20’s Global Health Summit, which will take place next week. According to the paper, this pandemic was a “21st-century Chernobyl moment” that should have been prevented.
However, the study has no real explanations as to how the Wuhan crisis started. Instead, it attempts to piece together a timeline of events. The virus’s arrival was marked by a combination of early and quick intervention and delay, reluctance, and rejection.
The inquiry was focused on interviews and an analysis of WHO records. As a result, it was discovered that China had begun detecting the virus before ever informing the WHO that they had an outbreak.
One of the panel’s most noteworthy findings is an hour-by-hour, day-by-day analysis of what occurred in Wuhan, China, from December 2019 to January 2020, hidden away in background materials.
What does WHO have to say about the report?
Though the panel is cautious when it comes to China, it is more optimistic when it comes to assessing the WHO, pointing out flaws but refraining from naming individual officials.
The panel paints an image of an agency that wanted to respond effectively but was hampered by an out-of-date series of guidelines known as the International Health Regulations, or IHR, suggesting that the agency’s arms were bound rather than dissecting whether it should have done differently.
“The contributions of its leaders and staff have been unwavering in this disease outbreak,” the report states, “but systemic challenges have been revealed.”
The panel addresses shortcomings but refuses to identify names on two main issues: the Who is early advice on human-to-human transmission and the delay in announcing an emergency.
During the early stages of the epidemic, the WHO uncritically repeated misleading Chinese statements on how the virus spread. In response, the panel reaffirms the WHO’s security, namely that it did provide for the “possibility” of human-to-human transmission.
Also, the organization “may also have advised governments that maybe they should take the precaution of believing that human-to-human transmission was happening.”
The panel makes a series of “bold” proposals for the future, including changes to early-warning technologies and increased authority for the WHO. It also calls for developed countries to do something, and to do it quickly, to narrow the vaccination gap.
It is unknown, for example, whether member states, including China, will consider granting the WHO greater investigative authority throughout times of trouble. Moreover, it took a WHO-convened team of researchers a year to gain access to key places in Wuhan, indicating that this would be difficult to market.
Concerning the WHO’s position, the panel acknowledges that the organization is significantly under-resourced, but it also charges it by leading a more robust approach in the coming months.