REVIEW OF MAIN THEMES

Over the course of the last year, pandem-ic has covered a variety of topics which can be grouped into three broad themes.

The understated severity of the pandemic in the developing world

Even today there is still the tendency to minimize the impact of the pandemic on the developing world. Developing countries are thought to be relatively unaffected thanks to their younger populations. This impression is further aided by reported statistics on cases and mortality. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic has been far from mild in the developing world – a point that has been made in a number of posts published over the last year:

It is true that developing countries tend to have younger populations than the high-income countries and this provides an element of protection. As it turns out, however, this demographic advantage has been largely offset by opposing factors: (1) worse epidemiological odds due to higher infection prevalence and/or higher age-specific infection fatality risks and (2) more considerable indirect impacts beyond COVID-19 that show up in excess deaths. See below for some visuals that drive home this point. 

The ignominy of vaccine inequity

From day one, pandem-ic has emphasized the importance of vaccine equity. The road towards that lofty objective, however, has been long and it continues to be long. The vaccine equity trackers on the site have examined the progress made over time and across country income groups and regions. The following posts have summarized the state of play:

Vaccine inequity is truly an ignominy. We are facing a collective challenge of a common viral threat. We cannot keep on applying patch after patch on only part of the wound while leaving the rest of it bare and unattended. Vaccine inequity also represents a critical challenge to achieving a sustainable end to the acute, pandemic phase of COVID-19.  Below are some additional visuals supporting these messages.

The scale of the recent Omicron/Delta escalation

Since mid-December the world has seen a major escalation of the pandemic on the back of a combined Omicron/Delta wave. Pandem-ic has sought to track the scale of this escalation and point out not only its concurrent impacts but also its implications for the future course of the pandemic. See for example the following posts: 

The emergence of a more transmissible and more pathogenic variant is not the standard pattern in viral evolution. But given the sheer scale of infection, how confident can we be that we will avoid a downside scenario? 

In light of this risk, pandem-ic expresses the concern that the world remains wholly unprepared to deal with such scenarios.  It argues that we need to look beyond Omicron and ask: “If a highly transmissible and more lethal variant emerges a year from now, what will we wish then we had done differently today?”. 
 
Part of the answer to that question is that we should have made greater efforts to ramp up global capabilities for development, production & distribution of updated vaccines,  therapeutics and diagnostics.