We are in the midst of two public health crises with very similar underlying foundational issues. What I clearly see is we have lost the ability to scale our public health system to meet large scale public health crises.
As the Ebola crisis in Africa spilled over into cases presenting in the U.S. it became clear that our public health system was not adequately prepared to respond. This was manifest in many aspects of the fundamental elements required to mount an effective response, including containment facilities; hard policies on quarantine; adequate training and practices for health care responders; effective diagnostic and medical countermeasures including vaccines and therapeutics; and effective communication procedures. Improvement across all of these elements would alleviate the concerns of the worried well and provide a platform for accurate, large scale media coverage. For a contagion with a high mortality rate such as Ebola, this is an acute public health crisis for which we have no effective response. Continue reading