Sandro GaleaSep 30, 2021
The Contagion Next Time
Oxford University Press 2021
How can we create a healthier world and prevent the crisis next time? In a few short months, COVID-19 devastated the world and, in particular, the United States. It infected millions, killed hundreds of thousands, and effectively made the earth stand still. Yet America was already in poor health before COVID-19 appeared. Racism, marginalization, socioeconomic inequality--our failure to address these forces left us vulnerable to COVID-19 and the ensuing global health crisis it became. Had we tackled these challenges twenty years ago, after the outbreak of SARS, perhaps COVID-19 could have been quickly contained. Instead, we allowed our systems to deteriorate.
Following on the themes of his award-winning publication Well, Sandro Galea's The Contagion Next Time (Oxford UP, 2021) articulates the foundational forces shaping health in our society and how we can strengthen them to prevent the next outbreak from becoming a pandemic. Because while no one could have predicted that a pandemic would strike when it did, we did know that a pandemic would strike, sooner or later. We're still not ready for the next pandemic. But we can be--we must be. In lyrical prose, The Contagion Next Time challenges all of us to tackle the deep-rooted obstacles preventing us from becoming a truly vibrant and equitable nation, reminding us of what we've seemed to have forgotten: that our health is a public good worth protecting.
Claire Clark is a medical educator, historian of medicine, and associate professor in the University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine. She teaches and writes about health behavior in historical context.