Ross: Human nature will prevent us from stopping next pandemic
We now know that the virus was not a hoax, it was not just the flu, it hasn’t disappeared over the summer, and it spreads like crazy when people don’t wear masks.
We also know that biologists warned us after the 2003 SARS epidemic to prepare for the next one by, among other things, spending the money to upgrade public health around the world. Today, an infection somewhere can quickly become an infection everywhere.
Cornell Biologist David Lodge has been issuing warnings for 17 years now, and he’s gotten some attention.
“I would not claim that we’ve had the kind of success that’s needed to prevent another pandemic,” Lodge said recently.
There will be another pandemic eventually, he argues, because hungry people still eat infected wild animals, and pass new viruses to other people who get on ships and planes.
And because of human nature.
“People can’t appreciate very easily the value of successful prevention,” Lodge noted. “What happens if we had perfect policies would be that we’d have no more pandemics. Successful prevention is invisible. Nothing happens.”
When nothing happens long enough, we assume it will keep not happening … until the day it does. And then – as now – we’ll wish we’d spent the billions to prevent it instead of the trillions to fix it.
Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.