Scientific American  |  March 1, 2022

The basics entail not only building new systems to prepare for pandemics but a major strengthening of institutions already in place. Public health legal expert Lawrence O. Gostin notes in this issue that the World Health Organization has a 2022–2023 budget of $6.12 billion, which is less than those of some major U.S. teaching hospitals. The WHO needs not just money but reforms that give it the authority to better monitor and intervene when new infectious diseases emerge. At the country level, the most basic of basics consist of functioning national systems that furnish medical care for all and financial help, as needed, for child care, food and housing and other measures to waylay the poverty-related chronic diseases capable of sending even a relatively young adult onto a ventilator during a future pandemic.

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