We had been warned about the coming Coronavirus pandemic, but like with so many other things, we didn’t listen.
Back in 2015, Bill Gates — who went from a morally suspect businessman with an incredible streak of luck to one of the world’s great philanthropists over the course of his 40 years in public life — gave a TED talk that was remarkably prescient.
Among other things, he predicted that the next great pandemic would be an airborne coronavirus, and that it could cost 3 trillion dollars in economic damage (and it may do more than that).
He’s hardly the only one, but one of the best know people to make this kind of prediction.
In his TED talk, Gates recommended that we should put ourselves on a “war footing” and that we:
- Create a global response system.
- Strengthen health care in poor countries.
- Create a medical reserve corps.
- Pair up the medical reserve corps with the military.
- Run “germ games” (instead of “war games”) simulations.
- Engage in more advanced research and development.
This is one set of prescriptions, and other experts in the field may have different or better ones. But this looks like a pretty good list to start with.
The cost of doing this, by the way, would have been far less than the estimated 3 trillion dollars in economic damage that we’re likely to suffer.
Ah, if we had just been willing to listen to the experts. But you now, Donald Trump (and the entire American right wing) hate experts. They just hate them. (And other actors around the world could also have done better. And some of them did do better.)