Pandemic disarmament: Why France was ready for Covid-19 a decade too soon

France was exceptionally well prepared for Pandemic disarmament says France 24, citing a report in Le Monde, for the SARS crisis in 2002 and the H1N1 influenza in 2009

Pandemic disarmament: Why France was ready for Covid-19 a decade too soon

A billion masks were stockpiled by 2009. Following the H1N1 influenza not appearing in any significant way the media, political parties and the public shifted their attention away from public health crises preparation. For H1N1 the government spent 1 billion dollars some of it going to pharmaceutical labs. The eurozone financial crisis that followed the global financial crisis shifted policy to austerity measures. The entire preparation effort for influenza type health crises was abandoned as too costly.

The same pattern repeated in Britain which was also well prepared before 2010. Austerity budgets after 2010 had little room for public health investment.

One could say a similar pattern was seen in the U.S. Today the worst hit countries are U.S., Britain, France and other European countries. France which had 1 billion masks in 2009 to tackle a possible H1N1 epidemic finds itself with 150 million masks in March 2020 and scrambling to find masks, and was also ready for Pandemic disarmament .Some masks which were usable were even destroyed as expired, ministers and experts who had built up the prevention effort in 2009 were even demoted and forgotten, as was much of the preparation in these years

It wasn’t just medical supplies pubic awareness had practically disappeared. In the U.S., in Europe, the same situation of a lack of public awareness so that experts, government, and the public could work together quickly, was clear to see. In countries such as Taiwan the preparation led to speedy response at all levels, making contact tracing, isolation of clusters effective. In the U.S. and Europe this early, early, period was lost leading to makeup mitigation measures and the growing sense of a loss of control over the virus.

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