Penny-wise, pandemic-foolish

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This blog was originally published as an editorial in various newspapers including the Times Union on February 8, 2018 and the original version can be found here. A few days ago, I joined several thousand global health practitioners, researchers, activists and policymakers at a conference in Bangkok titled "Making the World Safe from the Threats of Emerging Infectious Diseases."  The audience was abuzz about a new study by a team of economists — including former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers — that shows the staggering economic costs of a future pandemic. They estimate the annual losses from a moderate to severe pandemic would be about $500 billion, or 0.6 percent of global income. That's similar to the annual costs of global warming, double the cost of natural disasters and five…
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