In Print: ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic’

Dr. Helmut Kloos and 27 other scientists prepared an article published last week in the British Medical Journal, Global Health. The article is entitled “The COVID-19 pandemic: Diverse Contexts; Different Epidemics —How and Why?” The article may be accessed at The COVID-19 Pandemic.PDF

Dr. Helmut KloosBritish Medical Journal, Global Health is an open-access, online journal dedicated to publishing high-quality peer-reviewed content relevant to those involved in global health, including policy makers, funders, researchers, clinicians and frontline healthcare workers.

Helmut was invited by Professor Wim Van Damme, the first author of this article, with whom he had previously published several articles on HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia, to be a coauthor. As a medical geographer and social epidemiologist, Helmut contributed to the geographic, social and demographic information of the article and also arranged for the editing of the final version of the manuscript by a professional editor. The authors plan to update the article periodically to keep abreast with the rapidly increasing literature on COVID-19 and will provide notification when an update is published.

From the article’s abstract:

“It is very exceptional that a new disease becomes a true pandemic. Since its emergence in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, has spread to nearly all countries of the world in only a few months. However, in different countries, the COVID-19 epidemic takes variable shapes and forms in how it affects communities.

“Until now, the insights gained on COVID-19 have been largely dominated by the COVID-19 epidemics and the lockdowns in China, Europe and the USA. But this variety of global trajectories is little described, analysed or understood.

“In only a few months, an enormous amount of scientific evidence on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 has been uncovered (knowns). But important knowledge gaps remain (unknowns). Learning from the variety of ways the COVID-19 epidemic is unfolding across the globe can potentially contribute to solving the COVID-19 puzzle.

“This paper tries to make sense of this variability — by exploring the important role that context plays in these different COVID-19 epidemics; by comparing COVID-19 epidemics with other respiratory diseases, including other coronaviruses that circulate continuously; and by highlighting the critical unknowns and uncertainties that remain. These unknowns and uncertainties require a deeper understanding of the variable trajectories of COVID-19. Unravelling them will be important for discerning potential future scenarios, such as the first wave in virgin territories still untouched by COVID-19 and for future waves elsewhere.”