Epidemics: The Planetary Phase
In 2003, a SARS outbreak in southern China led to 774 deaths and more than 8,000 cases. Two months in, the coronavirus outbreak is already much worse, having infected more than 60,000 people and killed 1,400, almost all in China. But the world has grown even more connected since, and fears grow of an outbreak such as this surging into a pandemic. While the Chinese government has reacted aggressively by putting almost 500 million people in at least partial lockdown, the lack of a global Center for Disease Control is hampering muscular international coordination to stem the disease. Meanwhile, if the coronavirus reaches pandemic status, it will test countries with health infrastructures not nearly as strong or as centralized as China’s. And if it doesn’t, the next pandemic will.