The disinvestment in public health agencies and their workforces over the last several decades, and in particular following the 2008 financial crisis, has been well-described. Now, more than 2years into the public health response to an unprecedented modern global pandemic, we also have a clearer picture of the weaknesses in our public health systems that were exposed by COVID-19. The role of social determinants and racism in COVID's inequitable impacts, the burnout of the workforce, and the politicization of the response are three of the major factors that will influence the future of the public health system. As the Omicron variant fueled fourth wave of the pandemic fades, both the public, and many public health leaders, appear ready to relax restrictions and learn to live with COVID-19 as an endemic disease. However, even this phase of the pandemic will take hard and thoughtful work to reimagine our postpandemic world and to build a public health system than can ensure we maintain our ability to respond to future public health emergencies. Investments in public health preparedness after the September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax attacks were not effectively linked to improved outcomes or increased preparedness, which left a public health system that was not ready to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health's greatest challenge in more than a century. Therefore, the question we must answer now is what is the future of public health?
The COVID-19 Response: The Vital Role of the Public Health Professional, 2023, Pages 143-154,