Introduction to the special issue : management science in the fight against Covid-19

Morton, Alec and Bish, Ebru and Megiddo, Itamar and Zhuang, Weifen and Aringhieri, Roberto and Brailsford, Sally and Deo, Sarang and Geng, Na and Higle, Julie and Hutton, David and Janssen, Mart and Kaplan, Ed and Li, Jianbin and Oliveira, Monica and Prinja, Shankar and Rauner, Marion and Silal, Sheetal and Song, Jie (2021) Introduction to the special issue : management science in the fight against Covid-19. Health Care Management Science, 24. pp. 251-252. ISSN 1572-9389 (

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At the time of writing of this Editorial in April 2021, Covid-19 continues to ravage our planet, with an official global death toll now exceeding three million, and a horrendous legacy of economic and human damage. The roll-out of vaccination has given hope that we will soon reach the end of this chapter of history. However, it will take years for the world to overcome this calamity and many individuals whose health or livelihoods have been destroyed will never fully recover. This failure of the world to effectively respond to the challenge of Covid-19 is all the more bitter because the outbreak of a novel pathogen was entirely predictable; the spread, preventable; and the suffering, avoidable. The experience of different countries around the world shows that the ability to plan, and to execute plans in a disciplined fashion, can make all the difference between relative security and catastrophe. The challenge for Management Scientists is to show that our discipline can have a role – a critical role – as a part of this planning. Epidemiological models of disease dynamics have been prominent through this crisis but do not fully capture the constraints in the health system and cannot directly support many of the management decisions which have to be made as part of the response. As Management Scientists, our perspective and our modelling tools have the potential to address those shortcomings; but if our profession cannot demonstrate our ability to add value, others will do so in our place.