Just months after reports emerged of a novel coronavirus spreading in central China, our world, and all of our individual worlds, have been transformed by what has become a terrifying pandemic. Governments around the globe are taking unprecedented steps to restrict movement and limit social contact among their populations to contain the virus’s spread. Growing numbers of the world’s inhabitants are now living in either voluntary or imposed isolation, or preparing to.
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Leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies are meeting virtually at the G-20 Global Health Summit on Friday, co-hosted by Italy and the European Commission. There is much that participants agree on: More coronavirus vaccine supplies are urgently needed, and the world must boost manufacturing capacity in order to produce them. But the G-20 countries may disagree on how to build that increased capacity and where it should go. This week, U.S. President Joe Biden promised to share at least 80 million surplus vaccine doses for global use by the end of June and to launch a multilateral effort to [...]
Can the international community pay attention to multiple health crises at the same time? The coronavirus pandemic is putting this question to the test, and the experience of the past year suggests that the answer is a qualified no. If that is indeed the case, it means that the world will likely be living with the after-effects of COVID-19 for years to come. At the same time, the pandemic has spurred some changes in the world of public health that may create additional chances for improving access to health care in the long term. COVID-19 itself has already had devastating [...]
When the Biden administration made its surprise announcement last week that it would seek to waive American patent protections on coronavirus vaccines, many were quick to cheer this as evidence that the president’s much-beloved slogan about global leadership, “America’s back,” was already becoming something more than mere rhetoric. Here was Washington appearing to put self-interest aside for the benefit of global public health, and in doing so, it would not only be taking on the American pharmaceutical giants that had pioneered the most important vaccine technologies in the first phase of this crisis, but also those of America’s European allies, [...]