Cities 'woefully unprepared' for coronavirus response: report
By Chris Teale
ABI gave many cities credit for becoming "acutely aware" of the need to be more resilient, but overall said cities were "woefully unprepared" for a pandemic like coronavirus despite existing investments and efforts. Cities risk being similarly unprepared for future incidents like extreme weather events that have become more intense with the growing effects of climate change, according to the report.
ABI highlighted some positive examples of how cities are using technology to improve resilience in the face of the coronavirus. The group cited China, which used drones to transport medical samples and other materials between hospitals which reduced the risk of further infection. The United States is in the relatively early stages of experimenting with similar efforts using delivery drones.
"To date, cities, countries, and even the European Union (EU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) continue to improvise and decide on the fly how to cope with the rapidly spreading virus, resulting in disjointed and inconsistent measures varying widely between countries and regions," the report reads. "Stocks of face masks were largely insufficient. Hospitals had to very creative to cope with the exploding streams of patients."
As the outbreak becomes controlled and cities get back to normal — even if that is months in the future — it will be key to learn lessons, especially the need for various levels of government to work together closely, Berkowitz said.