The Impact of Preparedness in Defying COVID-19 Pandemic Expectations in the Lower Mekong Region: A Case Study

Corwin, Andrew, Plipat, Tanarak, Phetsouvanh, Rattanaxay, Mayxay, Mayfong, Xangsayarath, Phonepadith, Quynh Mai, Le Thi, Oum, Sophal, and Kuddus, Md Abdul (2021) The Impact of Preparedness in Defying COVID-19 Pandemic Expectations in the Lower Mekong Region: A Case Study. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 104 (4). pp. 1519-1525.

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Abstract

Dire COVID-19 expectations in the Lower Mekong Region (LMR) can be understood as Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam have stared down a succession of emerging infectious disease (EID) threats from neighboring China. Predictions that the LMR would be overwhelmed by a coming COVID-19 tsunami were felt well before the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic had been declared. And yet, the LMR, excepting Myanmar, has proved surprisingly resilient in keeping COVID-19 contained to mostly sporadic cases. Cumulative case rates (per one million population) for the LMR, including or excluding Myanmar, from January 1 to October 31 2020, are 1,184 and 237, respectively. More telling are the cumulative rates of COVID-19–attributable deaths for the same period of time, 28 per million with and six without Myanmar. Graphics demonstrate a flattening of pandemic curves in the LMR, minus Myanmar, after managing temporally and spatially isolated spikes in case counts, with negligible follow-on community spread. The comparable success of the LMR in averting pandemic disaster can likely be attributed to years of preparedness investments, triggered by avian influenza A (H5N1). Capacity building initiatives applied to COVID-19 containment included virological (influenza-driven) surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, field epidemiology training, and vaccine preparation. The notable achievement of the LMR in averting COVID-19 disaster through to October 31, 2020 can likely be credited to these preparedness measures

Item ID: 68132
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1476-1645
Copyright Information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2022 23:40
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420204 Epidemiological methods @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420201 Behavioural epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200404 Disease distribution and transmission (incl. surveillance and response) @ 50%
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200406 Health protection and disaster response @ 50%
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