By Olga Jonas
Senior Fellow, Harvard Global Health Institute. Former Economic Adviser at the World Bank
Thursday, October 29, 2020, 4:30 p.m. EDT
Widely held beliefs about contagions—like that they are inevitable and thus not worth worrying about or that the health sector is managing the risks—lead to underestimation of pandemic risk, scant preparedness, and inadequate prevention. Being aware of these persistent myths could help us move beyond flawed and frantic emergency responses and instead use considerable knowledge about the multifaceted, and permanent nature of microbial threats. It would make significantly more sense to hold officials accountable for their peacetime negligence (described as “neglect”) because we need a common core of permanent capabilities at both the national and global levels that can be applied against a wide range of microbial threats.