Dr Sanjay Gupta’s New Book Offers Tips for Becoming ‘Pandemic-Resistant’
When it comes to trusted and respected media voices on the pandemic, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is at or near the top of most people’s lists.
Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent (and neurosurgeon), wrote a new book today: “World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One. “
Much like he does when discussing the pandemic on the air, Gupta takes a sober and realistic – but never pessimistic – view of where we are in the pandemic.
What we know.
What we don’t know.
What we learn daily.
And perhaps more importantly, some of the concrete steps we can all take, at the micro and macro levels, to make ourselves more resilient now and in the future.
Gupta believes society must prepare for a new era in which pandemics will become more frequent and possibly even more deadly.
He argues that the combination of factors – climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, human migration, rapid transit, and aggressive conversion of wild lands for economic development, among others – dramatically increases the likelihood of massive outbreaks of new diseases. more deadly infectious diseases.
However, speaking with many experts around the world, he offers an optimistic view of how things can be improved, provided the solutions are implemented with wisdom and compassion.
Become “pandemic proof”
Gupta has spent hundreds of hours talking with experts and he walked away believing that, bold as it sounds – especially in light of where we are today – that it is possible to a society to become essentially “pandemic-proof”.
But doing that will take comprehensive planning and spending as much (or more) money as we do on things like national security and cybersecurity.
Using the acronym PROOF, he explains what we need to do both individually and collectively to be better prepared:
P: Plan ahead. We should never be caught off guard again.
A: Rethink and reconnect the risk in your brain. Assess uncertainty and face unseen threats.
O: Optimize health. Prepare the body for resistance to the pandemic.
O: Organize the family. Learn to live everyday life again, albeit in what will almost certainly be a new normal.
F: Fight for our future. Your health depends on the health of everyone in the world.
Other relevant topics that Gupta explores include:
What we know about long-haul COVID
Regardless of how COVID-19 develops, there will likely still be millions of people who will manage COVID-related symptoms in the long term. Gupta explores what we currently know about the disease’s ability to remain dormant while inflicting damage and how and why symptoms can persist long after the acute phase of the disease has ended.
Vaccine myths and the history of vaccine skepticism
Just as he has done on television since vaccines became available, Gupta debunks the most common myths about vaccines, including those related to infertility and pregnancy.
It also delves into the long history of skepticism surrounding vaccines and masking.
Indeed, large segments of the population refused the proven vaccines when they were first introduced for debilitating diseases such as smallpox and polio.
An epidemic anywhere is an epidemic everywhere
Gupta believes COVID’s greatest impact may not be on those the virus directly infects, but on those who have been shattered by the collapsing economies and health and education systems. For example, the remote areas of Africa, Asia, South America, and India may seem remote to the people of the United States, but what is happening there and in other distant countries is all part of our global health security.
Gupta notes that in an ideal scenario, those most vulnerable to disease would be vaccinated first, no matter where they live. Of course, this is not how the COVID-19 vaccination deployments went. Instead, the richest industrialized countries in the world vaccinated their own populations first while there are still smaller, poorer, and still developing countries whose populations have not received any vaccines.
Why some countries are doing better than others
After analyzing nearly two years of data, Gupta writes that there is a noticeable difference between how rich and poor countries have responded to the pandemic – but in an almost opposite way one would expect. .
While epidemics of infectious diseases typically crush the poorest countries, at the onset of the pandemic and before vaccines became widely available, COVID-19 has disproportionately affected many of the richest countries in the world.
Conversely, many poor countries, which lacked the resources or research infrastructure to develop therapies or vaccines, implemented the most basic public health practices – i.e. tests, contact tracing, isolation, wearing masks at all times and therefore a significantly lower number of cases. rates than those of “developed” countries.
Theories on the origins of the new coronavirus
Gupta also guides readers through competing ideas about how and where the virus came from.
Gupta recounts the conversations he has had with experts on the various theories and allows readers to draw their own conclusions.