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Chronicle of a Pandemic Foretold

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Chronicle of a Pandemic Foretold


5 min read
3 take-aways
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What's inside?

Well before 2020, a pandemic was on the radar screens of world leaders. But they looked away. 

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The European Union was woefully unprepared to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, even though alarm bells started ringing in 2003, with the emergence of the SARS coronavirus. In this focused investigation of preparedness failures, policy experts Andrea Renda and Rosa J. Castro glean preliminary lessons for the future governance of public health crises. They recommend that economic policy focus on resilience, and they offer useful criteria for crisis responses that could improve current outcomes as well as those likely to follow.


Since 2005, health experts have advised of the risks of a pandemic.

Many assert that the novel coronavirus contagion was unpredictable. But a scientific community of researchers, journalists, and heads of government health agencies and NGOs began issuing dire warnings about potentially catastrophic pathogens in 2005. Those alerts continued periodically through to the fall of 2019, when the World Health Organization cautioned of the many weaknesses in global preparedness to deal with a pandemic.

The SARS scare in 2003 prompted the European Union to establish the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) to bolster...

About the Authors

Andrea Renda is a department director at the Centre for Economic Policy Studies. Rosa J. Castro is a policy officer at the Federation of the European Academies of Medicine.

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