The Politics of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Donna M. Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FAAN


Nurs Econ. 2020;38(4):222-223. 

In This Article

Nursing and Epidemiology

It has taken a pandemic to remind all us of the importance of epidemiology and how it is critical to the art and science of nursing. Epidemiology guides our practice as we analyze the distribution, patterns, and determinants of health and disease of the coronavirus and its impact on global health. Epidemiology is what shapes public health and policy decisions as well as evidence-based practice in identifying risk factors of coronavirus and targets for preventive health care.

As nurses and other healthcare providers on the front-lines become more knowledgeable about promising treatments and palliative care options to combat coronavirus, we must not lose sight that more than 4.5 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and over 150,000 have died (Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, 2020).

As of this writing, coronavirus cases have reached new highs, and outbreaks continue to grow sharply in the U.S. South and West. At least six states reported single-day records for new cases: Georgia, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, and Utah, along with an additional eight states also setting single-day death records: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Tennessee (New York Times, 2020). A new global record for daily infections continues, with a reported 228,102 new cases. Other countries are also showing large daily increases including Brazil, Mexico, India, and South Africa (WHO, 2020).

Today, hundreds of thousands of people are fighting for their lives and struggling in a strained global economy. The economic burden placed upon the global economy brings with it limited health resources, widespread poverty, political instability, and increased risks to nurses, nurse-midwives, and other healthcare workers. The need to build a more sustainable, inclusive economy has never been more apparent or more urgent. This pandemic is a painful reminder of our universal interconnectedness, vulnerability to global markets, and the need for mass mobilization to tackle an economic crisis.