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The Contagion Next Time$
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Sandro Galea

Print publication date: 2022

Print ISBN-13: 9780197576427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197576427.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2022

An Unhealthy World

An Unhealthy World

(p.45) 3 An Unhealthy World
The Contagion Next Time

Sandro Galea

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains how the world that faced COVID-19 was not a world free of existential threats, merely from the widespread knowledge of them. The pandemic revealed just how vulnerable we have always been, and how vulnerable we will remain unless we learn its lessons. The first step to doing so is understanding the ways in which the world is still unhealthy and the forces which enable this poor health. This means looking at health disparities, which emerge from the misalignment of the structures that underlie health—the social, economic, political, and geographic factors which unfold across time and distance to shape our world. Creating a healthy world means engaging with health on this level—and we cannot prevent the next pandemic without creating a healthy world. The chapter discusses how we can do so, by first looking at the ways we have fallen short. The challenges of widespread disease, the proliferation of unsafe behaviors like smoking, and other forms of preventable mortality all speak of a world that is still unhealthy. The chapter then looks at how these challenges intersected with COVID-19. Finally, it considers the role global cooperation and international institutions played in addressing COVID-19, and their importance for creating a better future for health.

Keywords:   COVID-19, pandemic, poor health, health disparities, healthy world, widespread disease, unsafe behaviors, preventable mortality, global cooperation, international institutions

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