Bill Gates in the New York Times:
Imagine there’s a small fire in your kitchen. Your fire alarm goes off, warning everyone nearby about the danger. Someone calls 911. You try to put the fire out yourself — maybe you even have a fire extinguisher under the sink. If that doesn’t work, you know how to safely evacuate. By the time you get outside, a fire truck is already pulling up. Firefighters use the hydrant in front of your house to extinguish the flames before any of your neighbors’ homes are ever at risk of catching fire.
We need to prepare to fight disease outbreaks just as we prepare to fight fires. If a fire is left to burn out of control, it poses a threat not only to one home but to an entire community. The same is true for infectious diseases, except on a much bigger scale. As we know all too well from Covid, an outbreak in one town can quickly spread across an entire country and then around the world.
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 the same mistakes again.