The next global pandemic may already be upon us. The Biden administration has declared monkeypox a public health emergency as cases topped 6,600 in the U.S. The rapid spread of the disease has prompted the World Health Organization to classify it as a global health emergency. The last time the WHO took that step, it was responding to the emergence of COVID-19.
While the monkeypox virus spreads mostly through close contact with someone who is infected, our window for preparing for a mass outbreak is closing.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is that government, at all levels, must consult and collaborate more closely with business leaders on combating a pandemic. This will minimize economic disruption, maximize workplace safety, and enable the government to mitigate public health consequences by responding rapidly.
At COVID-19’s onset, business leaders had to adapt quickly, making decisions in an environment of uncertainty amid a rapidly shifting public health response. A costly lockdown became the default public policy option because the nation was unprepared.
Now, to help protect the economy, the public and private sectors should work together to identify which workers qualify as essential and how they can work as safely as possible in a public health emergency.
It’s important to note that the public and private sectors were able to achieve great successes during these tumultuous times. Public-private collaborations enabled scientists to develop vaccines in record time. Private companies built on a decade of research partnershi …