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Community management and recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

Guest edited by Nicole Probst-Hensch, Sarah Tschudin Sutter, Berhane Beyene, Zun-You Wu, and Xiao-Nong Zhou

A thematic series in Infectious Diseases of Poverty

Targeted community interventions with sufficient transparency and public engagement and trust may help delay the exponential spread of the outbreak and “flatten the epidemic curve”. Key community mitigation strategies may include cancellation of non-essential events; social distancing measures; contact tracing; SARS-CoV-2 testing; community and education.

The majority of countries has instigated strict interventions (some forms of lockdown) to slow down the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Nevertheless, these interventions come with a cost. Shutting down economy and shuttering the educational institutions have posed some social problems, prominently, unemployment ratio rising. We need to optimize our strategies to fully support our medical systems combating against COVID-19, while mitigating socio-economic damages for the overall national interest. Nations, administration and community with effective social care programme will be essential part of recovery planning. Study on new epidemiological and sociobehavioural models and other innovations may accelerate action to prevent another wave.

Participatory, transdisciplinary engagement between academic, government and community representatives contribute to identify rapidly effective, acceptable and feasible control strategies while keeping economic activities and the daily life going as much as possible. Specifically, low and middle income countries have to develop locally adapted community management and recovery methods that can be implemented in the conditions of largely informal economies, low public resources and remote areas and livelihoods under harsh environmental conditions like pastoralists, migrant workers, civil unrest, drought and other climatic shocks.

It matters a lot that how long these interventions continue and how governments help economies to recover, people go back to their normal life, and prevent the second wave of the pandemic. The Series will focus on evidence on the trade-off between the harm due to COVID-19 and the associated economic damage due to the public health interventions; building resilient infrastructure and lifestyles with appropriate social care provisions; models of economic recovery; comprehensive epidemiology and transmission mechanisms, measurement of community prevalence and the ratio of susceptibles to non-susceptibles, risk assessment, etc.

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