Missed public health opportunities

What Was Before Will Be Again

As we continue to explore what a pandemic world means, it seems reasonable to expect that legal, regulatory, and ethical rules and guidelines will develop based upon historical events. Lessons learned should inform changes and growth in knowledge upon which ethical actions are fine-tuned. History will be ignored at our own peril.

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience – George Bernard Shaw

It seems every time a pandemic occurs, and it occurs with such regularity that scientists can loosely predict the cycles, we act surprised and appalled at the interruptions in our daily lives as if we had no warning and could not possibly know what to do. And yet we know that public health officials attempted to do exactly the right things 100 years ago. They were mostly ignored, with deadly consequences.

Watch minutes 30-40 of the following video (minutes 0-30 are optional): 1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary

Determine missed public health opportunities that may have lessened the impact of the 1918 flu.

Include the following aspects in the assignment:

  • While watching the ten minutes at the end of the video, list all missed opportunities that had the potential to lessen the impact of the pandemic
  • Next to this list, place who you think was the responsible party for the missed opportunity
  • San Francisco avoided the second round of the pandemic. Why was this?
  • Who should be in charge of decision-making during pandemics, public health departments or politicians?
  • Make a simple two-column chart for the first two bullets and a paragraph narrative for the second two
  • Cite any references used. Use proper grammar, sentence structure, and spelling at all times. Put everything in our own words. There is no copying and pasting allowed.

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