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Coronavirus has shown the need to improve health across populations. Here’s the first thing we should do

This year’s winning Bennett Policy Prize proposal takes an insight from 1985 to address a very modern crisis

By Vageesh Jain  

A visitor holding cans of soft drinks, Coca-Cola and Fanta at the 15th Annual Art Under the Bridge Dumbo Arts Festival on Saturday, September 24, 2011. The New York City Council is voting on a proposed ban on plastic straws. The Wildlife Conservation Society is starting a a campaign called "Give a Sip" meant to engage consumers about the environmental hazards of plastic straws as they are ingested by wiildlife. (Photo by Frances M. Roberts)

The foremost public health emergency in our mind at the moment is, of course, Covid-19. But we must be careful, not to forget more familiar enemies, such as hypertension, cancer and heart disease, which are all closely associated with Covid-19 severity and mortality.

As we saw in the 2013-14 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, when the health system is preoccupied with one disease, others can run rampant. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) death statistics show an extraordinary rise in deaths from causes other…

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