#COVIDconsensus - Why Are the News and Social Media Buzzing about Our Article in "Nature"?

#COVIDconsensus - Why Are the News and Social Media Buzzing about Our Article in "Nature"?

16.11.2022
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Those of us who worked on our Delphi study on ending COVID-19 as a public health threat have been pleasantly surprised to see how much attention its recent publication in the scientific journal Nature has received.

We knew that our set of 41 consensus statements and 57 recommendations across six domains–communication; health systems; vaccination; prevention; treatment and care; and inequities– were noteworthy, but we were unsure whether they were actually newsworthy. It is a credit to the hard and committed work of 386 experts from a wide range of disciplines from 112 countries and territories who want to see an end to COVID-19 as a public health threat, that within days the article has moved into the top 750 scientific article shares from over 22.4 million tracked publications. Global media outlets (from France and the Philippines to the US to the Middle East/Asia and, of course, Spain) have covered the effort, and it has gone viral on social media with the hashtag #COVIDconsensus.

 

The priority recommendations set forth by the Nature COVID-19 Consensus Panel (Nov 2022).

 

Coverage of the article also reveals a great deal about current societal beliefs regarding COVID-19. We noted in an op-ed that ran in STAT News, when our study was released, that some political leaders like US president Joe Biden had declared the pandemic to be over. Statements like these have triggered false optimism that COVID-19 does not or will not pose further risks to people and health systems. However, when communities relax protective, preventive measures, the threat to public health becomes even more real.

 

 

First, the virus continues circulating and the possibility of new variants of concern and a concomitant increase in human health burden is high. At this moment, millions continue to become infected, many are hospitalized and many die every day. With the arrival of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, people are staying indoors and risking the dangers of poor ventilation. Compounding this is the fact that Long COVID remains a very prevalent, underdiagnosed condition with no cure. If more infections occur and this vicious cycle continues, there can be long-term repercussions.

Maybe the renewed discussions that our article has already triggered will contribute to positive changes in perception and action. We have already seen people from all walks of life (local citizens, academics, government officials and institutional leaders) emphasize on social media their belief that COVID-19 is still very much with us, and very much unresolved. We hope that the current interest in our article could indicate a refreshed commitment to bring COVID-19 to a real, durable conclusion.

When we initiated this large-scale study in July 2021, we had three goals:

  • To align on key statements about the nature of the public health threat presented by COVID-19;
  • To set out key recommendations that each country, including members of industry, should include in their pandemic response plans, and implement as needed;
  • To demonstrate to world leaders that transparent, international collaboration was achievable in this complex field.

The study was the result of the hard and committed work of 386 multidisciplinary experts from across 112 countries and territories.

Keep in mind that it has been less than 2 weeks since the on-line launch of this article. The interest among our scientific peers and other stakeholders worldwide is clear. The question now is whether we can work together to convince global and national political leaders and policy-makers to translate these recommendations into relevant action.

 

 

Curious to read the full study and access the most relevant resources? Take a look below and click on the links.