10. Is there any way to mitigate the consequences of pandemics?

Mitigation is necessary to keep mortality as low as possible and it also keeps effects on the economy within manageable levels. Mitigation countermeasures include:

  • mandatory quarantine;
  • preventing mass gatherings;
  • closure of educational institutes or places of work where infection has been identified;
  • isolation of households, towns, or cities.


These measures prevent transmission from symptomatic and non-symptomatic cases, hence flattening the epidemic and pushing the peak further into the future. Social distancing provides time for the health services to treat cases and increase their response capacity, and in the longer term, for vaccines and treatments to be developed. Individual action is also crucial to control the spread of an infection. Personal, rather than government action, in western democracies might be the most important issue; early self-isolation, seeking medical advice remotely unless symptoms are severe, and social distancing are key actions. Government actions to ban mass gatherings are important, and government communication strategies to keep the public informed of how best to avoid infection are vital.