A ‘cycle of panic and neglect’ leaves the world vulnerable to pandemics, experts warn

A 'cycle of panic and neglect' leaves the world vulnerable to pandemics, experts warn

The world is unprepared for the “very real threat” of a devastating global disease outbreak, experts have warned.
In a stark report, 15 public health leaders have criticised a “cycle of panic and neglect” which they say has characterised approaches to health emergencies and left the world at an “acute risk” of both regional and global pandemics. 
The report highlights the danger of a lethal respiratory pathogen, which could kill between 50 to 80 million people, wipe out nearly five per cent of the global economy and lead to social chaos.
As the world has become more interconnected, such a pathogen could spread around the globe within 36 to 50 hours, the report says.
But the experts warn that governments only invest in preparedness systems when emergencies strike – for instance the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016, or the H1N1 swine flu outbreak in 2009. 
This approach is inefficient, costly and leaves the world vulnerable to future crises, according to the report – which is the first to be published by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB), a panel of experts convened by the World Bank and World Health Organization in 2018.
“For too long, we have allowed a cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemics: we ramp up efforts when there is a serious threat, then quickly forget about them when the threat subsides,” the report says. “It is well past time to act.”   

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