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Fight Pandemics Like Wildfires

With Prevention and a Plan to Share the Costs

South Korean soldiers spray disinfectant at the international airport in Daegu, South Korea, March 2020 Kim Kyung-Hoon / Reuters

As the new coronavirus spreads around the world, causing markets to plunge and analysts to slash growth projections, the epidemic’s potential to damage the global economy is rapidly becoming clear. The regions in China that have been hardest hit by the virus, which originated in Hubei Province late last year, are home to millions of businesses that in turn supply an estimated 56,000 multinational companies. Already, many of these multinationals are experiencing disruptions in their supply chains, as vital manufacturing components from China are delayed. The effects will likely reach tech giants, pharmaceutical companies, heavy manufacturers, and other industries as well.

China finally appears to be getting the outbreak under control. After fumbling its initial response, the government is rushing to reopen factories and scale up manufacturing to meet global demand. Employers are reportedly offering paid plane tickets to coax workers back to factories and offices. But these efforts are

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