Western health systems have been built around the concept of patient-centered care, but coronavirus infections, like any epidemic, requires a change of perspective toward community-centered care. That model of community care is more typically seen in countries in Africa or parts of Asia, where hospitals are reserved for only the very sick patients and far more patients are isolated or treated in stripped-down facilities — similar to the field hospitals now being hastily constructed across Europe and America.

Even Europe’s typically strong networks of family physicians are insufficient to treat the deluge of patients that might be more easily addressed by armies of health workers — people with far less training than doctors but who focus on epidemic control measures. Developing countries are more likely to have such workforces, since they are more accustomed to massive health interventions like vaccination campaigns.

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