Epidemics can spread globally faster now than before — but our science has also advanced
There have been epidemics in decades past, and there will be more in future years.
But what an epidemic looks like will continue shifting as we move into a hyperconnected globalized world, said Dr. Nathan Wolfe, virologist and infectious diseases expert, at a CNN town hall.
The world is more connected: “We talked about the 1918 pandemic, how many flights were there in 1918? Zero. How many flights do we anticipate in 2020? 40 million flights. The nature of our world and the connectivity of our world has changed so dramatically we’re going to continue to see these outbreaks again and again,” Wolfe said.
We will keep seeing these epidemics, he warned: “For many people, they may feel what we’re experiencing is a groundhog day, and it’s certainly the case these epidemics are going to continue into the future.”
But we’ve also come a long way: “A lot has happened since 10, 12 years ago, when we were doing this. There’s been a tremendous investment,” Wolfe said.
“Now the US Government invests something on the order of $12 billion a year for health security. It needs to be sustained, it’s not enough — but what we weren’t doing then, we do now.”