The Lessons from Covid-19 Research Agenda offers a structure to study the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic response from a Global Catastrophic Risk (GCR) perspective. The agenda sets out the aims of our study, which is to investigate the key decisions and actions (or failures to decide or to act) that significantly altered the course of the pandemic, with the aim of improving disaster preparedness and response in the future. It also asks how we can transfer these lessons to other areas of (potential) global catastrophic risk management such as extreme climate change, radical loss of biodiversity and the governance of extreme risks posed by new technologies.
Our study aims to identify key moments- ‘inflection points’- that significantly shaped the catastrophic trajectory of COVID-19. To that end this Research Agenda has identified four broad clusters where such inflection points are likely to exist: pandemic preparedness, early action, vaccines and non-pharmaceutical interventions. The aim is to drill down into each of these clusters to ascertain whether and how the course of the pandemic might have gone differently, both at the national and the global level, using counterfactual analysis. Four aspects are used to assess candidate inflection points within each cluster: 1. the information available at the time; 2. the decision-making processes used; 3. the capacity and ability to implement different courses of action, and 4. the communication of information and decisions to different publics. The Research Agenda identifies crucial questions in each cluster for all four aspects that should enable the identification of the key lessons from COVID-19 and the pandemic response.