For decades, public health officials have directed the containment of emerging pandemics—perhaps most notably—the worldwide eradication of smallpox starting in the early to mid-1960s. Since then, surveillance systems have increased in number and sophistication with advances in data collection, analysis, and communication. From influenza to smallpox, the establishment of systematic reporting systems and prompt action based on results have enabled public health officials to lead the charge in containing emerging pandemics.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, in collaboration with the Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Center, Boca Raton Regional Hospital/ Baptist Health South Florida and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health, have published a commentary online ahead of print in the American Journal of Medicine about the urgent need for public health leadership in the wake of the emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Their message? Public health leaders, namely, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whom they liken as the “Babe Ruth” of virology, should guide the nation and other comparable world leaders through this pandemic and ensure preparedness for the challenges ahead.
Over the course of a decade spanning the tenures of U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, using evidence-based leadership, public health officials led the U.S. and worldwide efforts that resulted in smallpox becoming the first human disease ever eradicated from the face of the earth. At the helm of this effort were Alexander D. Langmuir,