Opportunity among Disaster: Reflecting on 2 Disaster Scenarios during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sophia Y. Shea, John L. Hick, Shelly Schwedhelm, Lauren M. Sauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Maintaining a public health emergency response for a sustained period of time requires availability of resources, physical and information technology infrastructure, and human capital. What perhaps is unprecedented is a medical center experiencing multiple disasters simultaneously. In this case study, the authors describe 2 separate disaster events experienced during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: (1) a cyberattack at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, and (2) civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although these settings were very different, the following common themes can inform future disaster planning: The benefit of an already active incident command system, the prescient need for continuity of operations, and the anticipation of workforce fatigue. These dual-disaster experiences provide an opportunity to identify lessons learned that will drive improvements in emergency management through preparedness and mitigation measures and response innovations for future simultaneous disasters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S49-S53
JournalHealth Security
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Civil unrest
  • Covid-19
  • Cybersecurity
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Incident command system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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