For a pandemic of moderate severity, this is one of our greatest challenges: helping people to understand when they do not need to worry, and when they do need to seek urgent care.
The World Health Organization did a world health report in 2006. In the whole world about 60 countries are in dire situation in terms of having enough doctors. And many of these countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa. You know, that part of the world alone needs one million doctors.
Some experts say we are moving back to the pre-antibiotic era. No. This will be a post-antibiotic era. In terms of new replacement antibiotics, the pipeline is virtually dry. A post-antibiotic era means, in effect, an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child's scratched knee could once again kill.
The international community should treat this as a window of opportunity to ramp up preparedness and response.
This change to a higher phase of alert is a signal to governments, to ministries of health and other ministries, to the pharmaceutical industry and the business community that certain actions now should be undertaken with increased urgency and at an accelerated pace.
After all it really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic.