We’re Not Ready For The Next Health Pandemic…

Grind for September 26th
“To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.”
– Steven Wright


The Headline

Report warns: The world is not ready for the next big disease

The Grind

If a pandemic hit the world in 2019, it would kill up to 80 million people.

This shocking claim is part of a joint report from the World Health Organization and the World Bank, which warns that we are not ready to combat the spread of a major disease.

“There is a very real threat of a rapidly moving, highly lethal pandemic of a respiratory pathogen killing 50 to 80 million people and wiping out nearly 5% of the world’s economy,” reads the report. “A global pandemic on that scale would be catastrophic, creating widespread havoc, instability, and insecurity…the world is not prepared.”

The Details

The term “epidemic” refers to a sudden spike in the number of cases of a disease in a particular region. The term “pandemic” refers to an epidemic that spreads throughout an entire country or world.

Perhaps the most famous epidemic is the Black Plague, which killed 60% of Europe’s population between 1346 and 1350. And that was before modern transportation.

Famous pandemics include smallpox (mostly eradicated), tuberculosis (ongoing) and HIV/AIDS (ongoing).

To prepare for the next pandemic, the report’s authors urge world leaders to implement International Health Regulations, increase investment in vaccine R&D, and establish preparedness systems.

“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,” argues the report. “It is well past time to act.”

End Of An Era

The Headline

Thomas Cook goes belly up, stranding 500,000 passengers

The Grind

British travel agency Thomas Cook went out of business Monday, leaving 21,000 people without jobs and stranding 150,000 UK-based passengers.

The bankruptcy affected an estimated 350,000 foreign customers.

The British government immediately stepped in to transport the marooned British travelers in what has been described as the country’s largest peacetime repatriation ever.

In 2017, the UK government spent $62 million to repatriate 110,000 people affected by the collapse of Monarch Airlines. We can expect the Thomas Cook incident to cost much more.

The Details

The sudden bankruptcy occurred after Thomas Cook failed to secure funding to keep it running through the winter.

“This marks a deeply sad day for the company, which pioneered package holidays and made travel possible for millions of people around the world,” said Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser.

The first “rescue flights” transported passengers from New York to Manchester.

“We have launched, at very short notice, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines, involving a fleet of aircraft secured from around the world,” said Civil Aviation Authority CEO Richard Moriarty. The goal is to fly vacationers home the same day they were scheduled to depart.

Did you know… Scientists say that a ‘zombie apocalypse’ is actually possible based on the recent discovery of certain brain parasites.