Just a thought about risks and costs and politics. It was known that a plague was always going to happen. Such things are unavoidable. Globalization made a rapid dissemination of a disease easy and cheap. But the costs of preparation are great and they have to be paid before the risks exists. Second, there is a tendency for things to never become as bad as they could. And no one wants to looked panicked and over-react. Preppers are roundly mocked for being, well, prepared.
But after the bad thing happens, the people who are injured can all complain about the lack of preparation.
If you’re politician, it makes sense to not prepare. (I’m not saying that it is wise, good, or morally acceptable; only that it makes sense if you’re a politician.)
If you prepare now for a future problem, you are spending current money on a currently non-existent problem. The problem may or may not come to pass in X years. The politician will probably be retired in X-1 years. Therefore, not preparing won’t hurt me.
In the present crisis, very few people are complaining about prior governors or presidents or mayors who failed to prepare. The complaints are directed to the current politicians, who are like the last child standing in musical chairs.
To illustrate this point further, consider this: The earth’s magnetic field is weakening. The magnetic poles may shift. When this shift takes place, it will cause enormous damage to our economy. People will die. It will cause problems quite beyond the current virus.
There are things which can be done to protect against this event. However, those actions will be extraordinarily expensive.
Since no one knows when the poles will shift, no one knows if the end of the world is close or a 1,000-years away. Thus, this real and unimaginably bad event is not being planned for right now. No country is undertaking the expense to protect against it, because it would be politically impossible to undertake the expense.
Or consider the San Andreas fault in California. There will be a massive earthquake some day — any day. In fact, in California we are constantly living under the threat that at any minute my house might collapse and the infrastructure be torn to pieces. Yet, how many people undertake the minimal steps to prepare?
People get ready every now and then – and then we forget where we put the extra water and our stored can goods go bad. It’s hard to keep up the intensity for some unspecified future event.
It is almost as if we live as if we would live forever.