The ongoing 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis has led governments to impose measures including mask wearing, physical distancing, and increased hygiene and disinfection, combined with home confinement and economic shutdown. Such measures have heavy negative consequences both on public health and the economy. However, these same measures have positive outcomes as “side effects” that are worth mentioning since they contribute to the improvement of some aspects of the population health. For instance, mask wearing helps to reduce allergies as well as the transmission of other airborne disease-causing pathogens. Physical distancing and social contact limitation help limit the spread of communicable diseases, and economic shutdown can reduce pollution and the health problems related to it. Decision makers could get inspired by these positive “side effects” to tackle and prevent diseases like allergies, infectious diseases and noncommunicable diseases, and improve health care and pathology management. Indeed, the effectiveness of such measures in tackling certain health problems encourages inspiration from COVID-19 measures towards managing selected health problems. However, with the massive damage COVID-19-related measures have caused to countries’ economies and people’s lives, the question of how to balance the advantages and disadvantages of these measures in order to further optimize them needs to be debated among health care professionals and decision makers.
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