Epidemiologic Surveillance in Public and Global Health

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 that resulted in a worldwide epidemic and placed a burden on healthcare systems. The article by Velavan and Meyer (2020) was published in the Tropical Medicine & International Health journal and describes the primary features of the COVID-19 pandemic. The experts suggest that the virus originated in Hubei Province, China, but by February 2020, it began to spread in Asia, Europe, and North America (Velavan & Meyer, 2020). The authors further explain that in response to the rapidly developing pandemic, the WHO announced a global health emergency, while John Hopkins University provided real-time tracking of COVID-19 cases on its website. The researchers also present general information on coronaviruses and describe SARS-CoV-2 as an RNA virus with crown-like surface projections and a genome that is closely related to a bat coronavirus (Velavan & Meyer, 2020). The article contains ideas on the transmission of the virus from animals to humans and defines the seafood market in Wuhan, China, as the epicenter of the epidemic.

There are several meaningful facts in the article, which might help practice medical and nursing professionals. Namely, the authors discuss the typical incubation period, asymptomatic cases, and describe pneumonia as a common complication of COVID-19 that increases mortality from the infection. Regions with dense populations are defined as the most vulnerable due to the incapability of hospitals in such communities to handle a large number of infected patients. According to the article, elderly patients have the highest risk of infection and fatal outcomes, while children are prone to asymptomatic infection. Finally, the experts propose potential medicines, such as baricitinib, chloroquine, redeliver, and ritonavir used for the treatment of other conditions, but warn that further studies are needed before using the drugs for COVID-19 treatment.

The article briefly described the factors included in the epidemiologic triangle, so it might be worth expanding on the problem of COVID-19 epidemiology. The epidemiologic triangle of COVID-19 consists of its causative pathogen (agent), susceptible persons (hosts), and environmental factors. SARS-CoV-2 is the causative pathogen that can be disseminated by animals and people, so social distancing and quarantine measures can delay the transmission of the virus. The pathogen is a respiratory virus, which means that oral transmission is the primary mechanism behind the pandemic. However, the research by Gupta et al. (2020) has shown that the lack of clean water and low sanitary conditions can exacerbate the transmission of the pathogen. Thus, the oral-fecal transmission of the virus is also possible, but additional research should be conducted to determine how long SARS-CoV-2 can remain viable in different environments. The researchers argue that the use of soap or hand sanitizer might prevent the spread of the disease (Gupta et al., 2020). The most common environmental factors affecting COVID-19 are humidity, solar radiation, and high temperatures, as they might decrease the viability of the pathogen’s airborne particles.

The epidemic puts considerable pressure on healthcare systems around the globe, so the nurse plays a vital role in addressing the outbreak and treating coronavirus-infected patients. Due to the lack of clinically approved medicine, nurses provide palliative care to the patients and focus on the containment of the current public health crisis (Rosa et al., 2020). The nurse contributes to the COVID-19 response by managing the symptoms in coronavirus-positive patients, promoting ethics, and participating in the decision-making process. Moreover, nurses attempt to relieve the suffering of patients in serious or critical conditions by providing psychological support, physical assistance, and compassionate care (Rosa et al., 2020). Nursing professionals are on the frontlines against the COVID-19 epidemic, as they are responsible for ensuring quality care even in highly challenging and unexpected situations. In addition to the critical nursing care roles, nurses respond to humanitarian emergencies and public health crises by participating in essential healthcare initiatives and promoting policy development.

The following strategies supported by relevant evidence might be implemented by nurses to mitigate the outbreak. Firstly, as a critical actor and the core of a healthcare system, the nurse should coordinate and offer recommendations for specialized healthcare professionals based on observations and clinical experience (Ramaiah et al., 2020). Nurses can evaluate the impact of the epidemic on patients, medical staff, and healthcare systems, so they can help medical staff to improve their practice during the outbreak. Secondly, nursing professionals should detect inequalities in healthcare access and recommend appropriate resource allocation strategies (Hemingway, 2020). The allocation of limited resources, such as symptomatic medication or medical equipment, should be based on the condition of a patient to increase the chances of recovery or survival. Finally, nurses should advocate for the development of a stable support system, including community support services and psychological support. The epidemic involving significant health risks and increased workload has a considerable psychosocial impact on nurses (Ramaiah et al., 2020). The support system might help nurses and medical workers to deal with frustration and anxiety due to the high risk of their professional activity, ethical dilemmas, and experience with patient death.


Gupta, M., Wahl, B., Adhikari, B., Bar-Zeev, N., Bhandari, S., Coria, A., Erchick, D. J., Gupta, N., Hariyani, S., Kagucia, E. W., Killewo, J., Limaye, R. J., McCollum, E. D., Pandley, R., Pomat, W. S., Rao, K. D., Santosham, M., Sauer, M., Wanyenze, R. K., & Peters, D. H. (2020). The need for COVID-19 research in low- and mid-income countries. Global Health Research and Policy, 5(33). Web.

Hemingway, A. (2020). Nurses are on the coronavirus frontline, so why are they being left out of the response? The Conversation. Web.

Ramaiah, P., Tayyib, N., Alsolami, F. J., Lindsay, G. M., & Asfour, H. I. (2020). Health professionals dynamic role amid COVID-19: Nursing perspective. Journal of Pharmaceutical Research International, 32(22), 93–100. Web.

Rosa, W., Gray, T. F., Cjow, K., Davidson, P. M., Doinne-Odom, J. N., Karanja, V., Khanyola, J., Kpoeh, J. D. N., Lusaka, J., Matula, S. T., Mazanec, P., Moreland, P. J., Pandley, S., de Campos, A. P., & Meghani, S. H. (2020). Recommendations to leverage the palliative nursing role during COVID-19 and future health crises. Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing, 22(4), 260–269. Web.

Velavan, T. P., & Meyer, C. G. (2020). The COVID-19 epidemic. Trop Med Int Health, 25(3), 278–280. Web.