Flatten the Curve: Pitfalls & strategies

23 Jun 2022 08:30 09:00


Flatten the COVID-19 curve: pitfalls and strategies

Wan Noraini Wan Mohamed Noor 

Bahagian Kawalan Penyakit, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

During an epidemic, a health care system can break down when the number of people infected exceeds the capability of the health care system's ability to take care of them. Flattening the curve aims to slow the spread of the epidemic so that the peak number of people requiring care at any point of time is reduced, and the health care system does not exceed its capacity. The world has been preparing and anticipating for the next pandemic due to the emergence of a novel influenza strain – which has been occurring at intervals ranging between 10 and 50 years within human history. The world has never seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. Indeed, this is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. In this era of social connectivity, the emergence of an epidemic or pandemic is accompanied by the tsunami of information, which is also known as the infodemic. Therefore, the attempt to flatten the infodemic curve is as critical and vital as to flatten the epidemic curve. The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic is a wakeup call which provides us with the opportunity to learn and adapt, so that the impact of future pandemics can be mitigated well. Ensuring that history does not repeat itself. There have been many expert reviews related to the health emergency preparedness, response and resilience (HEPR) architecture and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These led to various recommendations that have been analysed and discussed through multiple international processes. Whereby, the Director General of WHO during the 75th World Health Assembly (which took place in May 2022) has reported 10 proposals for strengthening the HEPR architecture. The proposed solutions are grouped by the three main pillars of the global HEPR architecture: governance, systems and financing, and are based on three key principles – i.e. equity, inclusive and coherence.