The threat of a global pandemic has long been a major national security concern. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated both the speed of infection and reinfection in a highly connected world and the ability of societies to respond with extraordinary measures.
In the past, major disease outbreaks have often resulted in major changes to infrastructure; waste disposal, municipal sewage systems, food inspection, water treatment, etc. Will lessons be learned from COVID-19 that will change standards and regulations so as to mitigate the risks of repeating the social and economic losses of 2020 and 2021? Engineering academies, government labs, universities and others around the world are evaluating new approaches to ventilation, construction and retrofitting of facilities for at-risk groups, anti-microbial materials and coatings for surfaces, mask technologies, and national capacities to scale up vaccine production and specialized medical facilities.