The devastating public health, economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are well documented and continue to mount. Yet history shows that grave crises can also call forth heroic responses. A crisis like COVID-19 can focus our energy; unite us to advance the common good; generate cooperative partnerships among diverse stakeholders; and accelerate the transformative power of innovation to address urgent human needs.
We’ve seen all these creative forces at work in the global response to COVID-19. Although the crisis has not yet passed, it is not too early to start identifying some of the lessons we have learned so we are better prepared to defeat new public health threats, as well as rising challenges that are already on our doorstep.
These lessons should guide public policy reforms, align business practices and provide us a roadmap for decades to come. They have the potential to ensure our society can drive the scientific, medical and health progress needed to help us respond more rapidly and effectively to future virus outbreaks. They also promise to help sustain our highest human aspirations for long, healthy, productive lives by addressing other growing crises, such as the explosion of Alzheimer’s and other diseases that target the rapidly aging global population.