Key Lesson from Past Outbreaks: A Rapid and Collective Response Required

Since the CDC Foundation activated its Emergency Response Fund in response to COVID-19 last month, the epidemic has evolved rapidly. This outbreak has reinforced the idea that a health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere. COVID-19 has infected nearly than 80,000 people in China and has now reached more than two dozen countries.

Our President and CEO Judy Monroe, MD, authored an op-ed in Morning Consult that emphasizes the need for a rapid and collective response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Dr. Monroe highlights lessons learned from past epidemics such as Ebola and Zika, and stresses that infectious disease epidemics do not respect borders or politics. The battle against these microbial invasions requires a collective effort by governments, the private sector, philanthropy and the public.

Dr. Monroe writes, “Epidemics are predictable only in that we know there will always be another one, but there are continuous lessons to learn and apply to the next outbreak.”

We have learned from past outbreaks that speed saves lives, and the need for rapid and flexible funding is real with the COVID-19 epidemic. 

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Claire Stinson is a communications officer for the CDC Foundation.