A Blueprint for Preventing Another Pandemic

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Not necessarily. Knowing the many ways that we mishandled COVID-19 is a bit like knowing the number of pages in a textbook to study before an exam. It gives us an idea of the task ahead but not how difficult the work will be. True preparation means studying the problems and working out solutions. There’s a lot of material to cover from this pandemic. And we have no idea when the next test is coming.

TIME’s science and health team, with guidance from the University of Washington Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness, set out to make a study guide of sorts. In late May, TIME sent a list of about 50 initiatives that could mitigate the next health crisis to experts who could expect to be involved. We asked them to score each strategy’s priority and feasibility on a scale of 1 to 5. Seventy-three responses came back from thought leaders in public health, infectious disease, immunology, hospital administration, data and technology, environment and climate, health inequity, supply chains and biosecurity. A third of them were outside the U.S., spanning 16 countries.