Aurora Prize Co-Founders Noubar Afeyan and Ruben Vardanyan, Lord Ara Darzi, Armenia’s Helath Minister Arsen Torosyan, Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company André Andonian, WHO special envoy for COVID-19 Dr. David Nabarro particiapated in an online webinar “COVID-19: Challenging General Fear.”
The issues covered during
the panel discussion ranges from the background to this new virus, the
prevention of cross-infection in the community, the best and proven protection
measures, computer modelling, the prospects of therapeutics and vaccinations,
the capacity of the health systems in Armenia and around the world to tackle
the pandemic, the fake news and the myths surrounding it to the scientific
knowledge we could confidently rely on today and tomorrow.
The panelists shared their understanding of how the on-going pandemic affects various aspects of our present-day lives and discuss the unknown – the upcoming social, economic, political, demographic, behavioral, etc. changes we should anticipate and be ready to tackle together in the months and years to come.
Dr. David Nabarro attached importance to cooperation between nations is key to fighting the virus.
“Strong international cooperation is crucial but may be hard to achieve due to reasons that have nothing do to with COVID-19,” he said.
He noted that base our projections for COVID-19 on our knowledge of other viruses, like Ebola, would be unwise, because it behaves differently.
Lord Ara Darzi, Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at the London Imperial College, and Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee said “these are challenging times.
“Fear is not an issue that you can manage easily,” he said, adding that “No healthcare system in the world, even the best one, has the capacity to deal with 15-20% of the population who get a severe disease.
“The only thing we could do is get the balance right between the supply and demand. This virus does not know any boundaries, doesn’t know anything about grace or religion, doesn’t even know if you are a Prime Minister or not,” he noted.
Noubar Afeyan said “this is nothing short of a global biological war – not something man-made but still a biological war.”
“This is absolutely not a competition between different companies and different approaches. This is basically a competition between us and the virus,” he added.
André Andonian said: “We are looking at the facts and developing different scenarios, and the scenarios depend on safeguarding lives and saving livelihood, the way of creating value, having jobs and so on.”
Ruben Vardanyan added that “we need to understand this is not only the states’ or international organizations’ responsibility to solve this problem. Our entire society needs to be involved.”
Health Minister Arsen Torosyan presented the measures Armenia is taking to deal with the spread of the virus.