Sociopolitical Diagnostic Tools to Understand National and Local Response Capabilities and Vulnerabilities to Epidemics and Guide Research into How to Improve the Global Response to Pathogens

Samuel R. Friedman, David C. Perlman, Dimitrios Paraskevis, Justin Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics demonstrated that nations at similar economic development levels varied widely in their capacity to protect the health of their residents. For AIDS, Britain and Australia brought gay representatives into official counsels and adopted harm reduction far more rapidly than the United States or Spain, and East African countries responded more effectively than South Africa or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. National responses to COVID-19 varied widely, with New Zealand, China, and Vietnam more effective than Italy, Brazil, or the United States. Further, as phylogenetic research has demonstrated, these pandemics spread from one country to another, with those that responded poorly acting as sources for mutations and potentially sources of transmission to countries with more effective responses. Many observers expressed surprise at the poor responses of the United States to COVID-19, but in retrospect the cutbacks in public health funding at state and national levels made it clear that this was a predictable weakness even in addition to the political vacillations that crippled the US and Brazilian responses. In a time of global sociopolitical and climate instability, it is important to measure and conduct research into spatial and time variations in 1. public health and medical funding, 2. social influence networks, social cohesion and trust, and stigmatization, 3. income inequality, 4. social conflict, and 5. other factors that affect responsiveness to pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1023
JournalPathogens
Volume12
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • HIV
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • public health and medical funding
  • social cohesion and trust
  • social influence networks
  • sociopolitical diagnostics
  • stigmatization

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