30 years ago, the planet experienced for the first time in a while a pandemic caused by the now infamous COVID-19.
Occurring just over 10 years after the great global economic crisis that had brought the international financial system down, the pandemic came at the end of strong austerity policies across all public sectors: education, infrastructure and of course public health. All these sectors had been put on a diet to allow the various national economies to absorb the cost of the financial crisis.
Financial crisis which, let us recall, had been absorbed at the cost of public expenditure more than taxes levied on those who were at the origin of the crisis and whom, after this government bailout, did not necessarily gave back in one way or another.
In some states, such as the United States, these key public sectors were at the time increasingly abandoned to private initiative which above all sought to make profit more than guaranteeing the quality of service and making it universal.
In Europe, the logic was more to drastically reduce health care cost or to scale down in the face of social security systems in crisis.
It was in this tense context that the virus appeared. The human cost and the cost on infrastructure have inevitably been felt in the face of health systems ill-prepared for such a context.
Eventually the virus would have had the benefit of opening up reflection on the need to strengthen health systems: not only to fight pandemics, but also, and more generally, to adapt our societies to the evolution of the world. A world facing climate change and therefore more and more victim of major events impacting our lifestyles and our health.
This reflection ultimately led to the implementation of fundamental reforms to completely readjust the vision of public health.
Indeed, it is now from the angle of necessity that public health policies are considered, beyond the sole individual right to access to care. Because what governments and economic leaders have come to understand is that the public health system is now a key element of economic continuity.
Faced with losses due to the numerous diseases that continue to spread due to global warming, faced with losses due to numerous accidents linked to climatic events, the economy has been impacted more and more strongly. And finally, investing in an efficient health system is the guarantee of a workforce that is more resilient to the evolution (and the increasing cost) of human living conditions.
The same is true for public infrastructure, the maintenance of which is necessary to guarantee supply chains in times of crisis.
So, of course, not all states followed. The United States is just beginning to think about such a development. But Europe and Asia quickly understood the elements of this problem and initiated the necessary reforms.
However, some have rightly deplored that the reforms implemented in Europe were not innovative enough and sought above all to maintain the existing rather than to develop tools truly adapted to the world of tomorrow.
But Europe continues to carry the weight of its history ...
In any event, "To all things woe is good" as the saying goes and, if the pandemic which took place on Earth 30 years ago has produced many negative effects, it will at least have created a " wake up call ” so that short-term visions at the expense of public services are now prevented or even rejected.