“When the World Health Organization first described Covid-19 as a pandemic just over three years ago, it marked the culmination of a collective failure to prepare for pandemics despite many warnings. And I worry that we’re making those same mistakes again. The world hasn’t done as much to get ready for the next pandemic as I’d hoped. But it’s not too late to stop history from repeating itself. The world needs a well-funded system that is ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice when danger emerges. We need a fire department for pandemics.” (Bill Gates writing in the New York Times this week)
My main fear for the future isn’t really in The Premonition at all: we have recently experienced the polarization of political sides in American life, with serious attacks on science and medical knowledge. My current “premonition” is that this situation is likely to derail any future efforts to deal with possible (or actual) coming pandemics. The author called out the authorities who in 2019 believed that immunization alone was the route to stopping the spread of disease. He made the case that many other measures, in general the need for social distancing, were also essential. How will this play out now, when a substantial minority have become convinced that medicine is a conspiracy against them. This minority oppose immunizations of any kind. Even wearing masks is politicized. Not to mention closing schools! What kind of a future does this foretell?
UPDATE: As one commenter says, an article this week in the New York Times has more updated material on the way the CDC was forced to act in dysfunctional ways in 2020. See this article: “‘We Were Helpless’: Despair at the C.D.C. as the Pandemic Erupted.”