State of Health
Next pandemic is absolutely inevitable, warns top British scientist

Just Earth News | @justearthnews | 27 May 2024, 11:42 pm Print

Next pandemic is absolutely inevitable, warns top British scientist Pandemic

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Patrick Vallance, the UK's former chief scientific advisor, has urged the incoming British government to start preparing since the next pandemic is 'absolutely inevitable'.

He warned the world is not ready to tackle it.

Speaking at a panel event at the Hay festival in Powys, Vallance was quoted as saying by The Guardian it is “great we are having an election” as there are “clearly issues that need to be sorted out”.

One of the things the next government must do is implement better surveillance to be able to pick these things up, he said.

Repeating what he told G7 leaders in 2021, he said: "We need to be much faster, much more aligned – and there are ways to do this – at getting rapid diagnostic tests, rapid vaccines, rapid treatments, so that you don’t have to go into the extreme measures that took place during the Covid-19 pandemic."

The latest edition of the World Health Statistics released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that the COVID-19 pandemic reversed the trend of steady gain in life expectancy at birth and healthy life expectancy at birth (HALE).

The pandemic wiped out nearly a decade of progress in improving life expectancy within just two years. Between 2019 and 2021, global life expectancy dropped by 1.8 years to 71.4 years (back to the level of 2012). Similarly, global healthy life expectancy dropped by 1.5 years to 61.9 years in 2021 (back to the level of 2012).

The 2024 report also highlights how the effects have been felt unequally across the world.

The WHO regions for the Americas and South-East Asia were hit hardest, with life expectancy dropping by approximately 3 years and healthy life expectancy by 2.5 years between 2019 and 2021.

In contrast, the Western Pacific Region was minimally affected during the first two years of the pandemic, with losses of less than 0.1 years in life expectancy and 0.2 years in healthy life expectancy.