Coming soon to gasworld, a brand-new series of articles exploring the Covid-19 oxygen crisis and asking, how did we get here?

As revellers around the world celebrated into the small hours of 1st January 2020, it’s fair to say almost no-one knew what kind of new year they were ushering in. Just over 100 years since the ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic raged across the globe and took the lives of tens of millions of people, a new virus was about to be unleashed on the world to strikingly similar and devastating effect.

Covid-19 (coronavirus) has left a painful, indelible mark on society the world over and continues to have a grip on our way of living, working and interacting even today. Sadly, it also continues to ravage a number of countries in the southern hemisphere that lack both the vaccination programmes and the one key treatment required to deal with it – oxygen.

Our response to this once-in-a-century global pandemic that so unexpectedly and irrevocably change the world poses a number of questions.

  • Did a terse political battleground at home and overseas facilitate the unchecked rise of an indiscriminate virus in so many countries?
  • Did world leaders take their respective eyes off the ball, in the name of short-term political posturing?
  • How prepared were our healthcare systems, supply chains and societies for a crisis unlike any other over the last 100 years?

In a thought-provoking new series of articles from gasworld, we will explore a 10-point playbook of political, social, scientific and economic constructs that underpinned one of the most devastating public health emergencies in a century and oxygen supply chain shortages that ultimately failed to prevent the loss of many thousands of lives.

There will be no conclusions, there will be no opinions, only presented facts and perspectives of a storybook – we must remind ourselves – that has not yet reached its concluding chapter.

The series will look at the emergence of the virus and the world of Gain of Function (GOF) research, the political climate in 2019/20, the state of healthcare systems prior to the pandemic, the role of medical oxygen and the supply chain in place, and much more besides. It will attempt to explore three overarching questions: how pandemic-prepared were we really, how did Covid push oxygen supply chains to the brink, and will we be pandemic-prepared next time?

Look out for the series coming soon from gasworld, available online for subscribers and in future print editions.