Stopping the next pandemic today
By Ron Klain
When President Obama and his fellow Group of Seven leaders meet in Germany beginning today, Ebola will be on the agenda. The leaders will talk about the need to wipe out the relatively small number of remaining cases in West Africa, as well as the need for aid to rebuild the ravaged nations of the region. Both steps are critical.
But neither will address what should be our No. 1 lesson from the Ebola crisis: the need for substantial measures to keep us safe from the pandemic on the horizon, a catastrophic event that is inevitable if we don’t move quickly to prevent it. As Bill Gates recently said, “If anything kills over 10 million people in the next few decades, it’s most likely to be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war.” So why, with the Ebola epidemic serving as a fresh warning, aren’t the G-7 leaders doing more to tackle this critical health and security issue?
As scary as Ebola was, the world’s success in taming it may have given us a false sense of security. Ebola was, in many ways, a deceptively simple test of the world’s epidemic response system. Ebola is hard to transmit and easy to detect… The epidemic broke out in three relatively small countries that contained no mega-city and sent only a limited number of travelers out of the region.
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