Lateral public health: Advancing systemic resilience to climate change

Elsevier, The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, Volume 9, 2021,100231,
Jan C. Semenza

The COVID-19 pandemic, with its staggering mortality and morbidity, has rippled across all facets of life and precipitated the largest synchronized decline in global GDP ever recorded. Countries were caught unprepared for such an acute and expansive health security crisis. This public health emergency has taught us that our health care system cannot cope with multiple crises simultaneously. Compounding risks can exacerbate a challenging health crisis by multiplying the initial impact (Fig. 1). The pandemic has exposed the limits of health care capacity, social inequalities, the vulnerability of marginalized groups, the elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions. COVID-19 pummeled even rich countries in Europe, exposing inherent weaknesses in their health care capacity and response to this crisis.