The Covid-19 pandemic is more than a health crisis. Its long-term economic and societal effects may well outweigh its initial public health impact. It is therefore essential that responses are socially sensitive and attuned to mitigating these secondary effects.
This briefing draws upon lessons learned by development actors during previous epidemics. It considers the similarities and differences of the Covid-19 pandemic compared to other recent epidemics, casting a critical eye on the social and public health aspects of the responses. Furthermore, implications for development actors are presented, with proposed actions and lessons for policy- and decision-making. These look to align short-term responses aimed at disease treatment and control with those aimed at mitigating secondary impacts on health and livelihoods; and support for recovery and longer-term development approaches, taking account of the political dynamics involved. Specific attention is paid to Ireland’s overarching policy priority to reach the furthest behind first.