The first part of this talk will use a One Health perspective to examine why coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2 are emerging from animals into human populations. One Health is the concept that human, animal, and environmental/ecosystem health are linked. This concept might seem obvious, but it is generally not how governments, academia, or the corporate world approach multi-disciplinary challenges such as emerging zoonotic diseases like SARS and COVID-19.
The second part will examine leadership during public health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, using a framework based on the work by Max Weber, the German sociologist of the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Based on Weber’s writings, Kahn developed a model proposing that there are at least two leaders during public health crises: the political leader and the bureaucratic leader. Their relationship, or the lack thereof, influences the outcomes of government responses. The talk will compare and contrast successes and failures of leaders’ responses to disease outbreaks, particularly national leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, who is in charge profoundly impacts who lives and who dies during a deadly pandemic.