A key challenge identified by the Covid pandemic is the total unpreparedness of our society as a whole for such a situation to occur, even as leading scientists had warned it would happen.
As a start point the issue is with the medical response, including far too few hospital beds available and the lack of infrastructure for testing and vaccine production, but it goes much further into societal awareness of how to limit disease transmission and personal responsibility for limiting the chance of catching the virus and acting appropriately to stop the spread.
It has always been the case that people have persevered with work and school while suffering from illnesses and not taking any real steps to protect themselves or others against the spread.
This behaviour costs the NHS huge amounts every winter as the annual flu virus passes through, as well as causing lost work days due to illness for those that do become very unwell.
This clearly presents a huge opportunity for post-Covid if we can work together as a society to be hygiene aware on-going, training people to continue some of the behaviours adopted through the pandemic and making it socially unacceptable to ignore when we are ill and insist on continuing as normal. We need to instil a clear feeling of personal responsibility and accountability into everyone’s daily lives and demonstrate the benefits of this behaviour.
The potential saving for society is certainly huge, both in healthcare savings, but also lost work days and then the potential to save many lives of those susceptible to the annual winter viruses.