Secondary Fall-Out

By Azby Brown

Many COVID-19 initiatives are rightly focussed on what we can consider the first order effects of the pandemic, namely health. This includes identifying and taking care of the ill, making sure medical supplies and personnel are available where they are needed. Issues like maintaining the many lifelines that people depend on day to day, such as food, housing, and communication, taking care of waste collection, and keeping utilities operating are often included in disaster response plans as second-order effects. There are others however, which are less concerned with logistics but with psychological and community damage. These often seem less like emergencies, but are often very serious and longer-lasting. As we develop and deploy solutions, it’s important to keep these second and third order effects in mind as well.

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