In 2015, during a TED talk, Microsoft founder Bill Gates announced that the world was completely unprepared for outbreaks of dangerous diseases. The coronavirus pandemic has confirmed his words - so far more than a million people have died from the disease worldwide. Due to the fact that many countries have neglected the health sector all this time, the number of infections is still on the rise. Recently, Bill Gates shared that in the near future the world may be affected by an outbreak of another disease and humanity needs to prepare for it now. Scientists already know what factors can trigger the onset of a new pandemic and have found out where in the world it is more likely to start.
When will a new pandemic start?
Bill Gates spoke about the possibility of a new pandemic in a podcast with singer Rashida Jones and wrote in the Gates Notes blog. In his opinion, in the worst case, an outbreak will occur in the next 3 years, but if humanity is lucky, it will only happen in 20 years. He also noted that if people learn from the coronavirus pandemic, the next outbreaks will be defeated much faster. As an example of the correct response to the outbreak of coronavirus, he cited the action of South Korea and Australia. According to him, the authorities of these countries quickly tested people for infection and promptly isolated them from healthy people. This approach helped slow the spread of the disease.
The world would have coped with the coronavirus faster if patients were found and isolated on time
It is important to note that the World Health Organization also warned about the possibility of a new pandemic starting in November. The organization explained that countries with reliable infrastructure and emergency preparedness were the fastest to take measures to contain the spread of the virus. Therefore, national authorities should be more prepared for the next outbreaks of disease. After all, they appear unexpectedly - did you imagine during the celebration of 2020 that it would be so difficult? Unlikely.
Where will the new pandemic start?
Scientists already know in which countries an outbreak of the next dangerous disease may occur. In their opinion, it will occur in cities where medicine is poorly developed and forests with wild animals are located nearby. Taking these factors into account, they decided to calculate the regions of our planet that are most at risk of pandemics. The results of the three-phase scientific work have been published in the journal Elsevier One Health.
It's important for people to stay away from wild animals
The first thing scientists did was to find cities that closely border wild areas. They found out the population density of these cities, as well as the number and variety of animals in the forests. In the image below, regions with a high ratio of animal to human diversity are highlighted in yellow.
Regions with a high animal-to-human ratio
At the second stage of scientific work, the researchers identified the regions with the least developed medicine. It is believed that in such places it will be most difficult to recognize a new disease and stop its spread. At the third stage, scientists found out where the most global air transportation networks are present in our planet. This is also a very dangerous factor, because through such places, diseases can quickly spread throughout the world. These areas have been highlighted in red.
Regions in which a new pandemic may begin are marked in red
Ultimately, it was found that the next outbreak of a dangerous disease is more likely to occur in Africa or Asia. In most cities of these territories, medicine is poorly developed, but at the same time, air travel is carried out. With all this, people most often come into contact with wild animals. And this is very dangerous, because the coronavirus was also transmitted to humans from animals. Anyway, we got many dangerous diseases from wild animals: AIDS, Ebola, malaria, smallpox, plague and so on.
In the end, it turns out that countries urgently need to invest in medicine. This should be done right now, because we are still far from complete victory over the coronavirus. If humanity manages to solve this global problem, then the next outbreaks can be eliminated much faster.