Multidisciplinary team comes up with long-term vision for covid

Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center
Pandemic center
Vrouw desinfecteert handen bij een zogenaamde zeepzuil in koopgoot Rotterdam
Iris van den Broek

'From fighting a pandemic to living with an endemic' is the name of the document presented by experts from the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Centre, among others. The advice? A long-term vision and structural adjustments so that our society is better prepared for the vagaries of the coronal pandemic.

We can now conclude that covid will not go away completely,' says Doctor of Society & Health Anja Schreijer: 'Structural adjustments with more trust in and responsibility by the citizen are therefore necessary to make our society more robust.'

The Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Centre (PDPC), an initiative of Erasmus MC, Erasmus University Rotterdam and TU Delft, therefore facilitated a discussion meeting with the aim of formulating a long-term vision. Experts from the (bio)medical and social sciences, including PDPC leaders Marion Koopmans, Anja Schreijer and Bas Kolen, as well as social partners were present.

Continuous struggle

In recent months we have been in a constant struggle with covid, which has meant that we have always had to react abruptly to new developments in the virus. That demands a lot from society. Shops suddenly have to close and artists have to cancel shows,' says Schreijer.

According to Koopmans, we must take into account that it will be some time before covid has become part of the 'normal' winter viruses: 'From a virological perspective, we will see a number of smaller or larger waves in the meantime. With structural adjustments in which the whole of society collaborates, you can ensure that the virus spreads less even before the need is greatest. In this way, we avoid the need for ever more drastic measures.'

Transition team

Easier said than done, the experts admit. They suggest setting up a transition team to make constructive proposals for the necessary structural adjustments. The multidisciplinary team would bring together representatives from healthcare, behavioural sciences, ethics, economics and communication sciences.

This article was taken from the PDPC website and written by Maud Kok, Erasmus MC.

By transcending disciplines, we want to effectively improve the preparedness of healthcare, digital and physical infrastructure, the economy, public administration and citizens.

The initiative originated from Erasmus MC, TU Delft and EUR and fits within the Convergence Alliance, but we are an open initiative. Ultimately, we want a collaboration of researchers, including those from other universities, on the question of how to prevent pandemics and disasters, and if they cannot be prevented entirely, how best to act. This is a very complex question, which can only be answered with a wide range of expertise, data collection methods and analysis techniques. The PDPC plays a crucial connecting role. By transcending disciplines, we want to effectively improve the preparedness of healthcare, digital and physical infrastructure, the economy, public administration and citizens. Such an approach requires long-term investments.
Read the full interview with Pearl Dykstra

Pearl Dykstra

Professor of Empirical Sociology

More information

The vision document can be found on the PDPC website.

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