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“Time is running out to prepare for the next pandemic. We must act now with decisiveness and purpose. Someday, after the next pandemic has come and gone, a commission much like the 9/11 Commission will be charged with determining how well government, business, and public health leaders prepared the world for the catastrophe when they had clear warning. What will be the verdict?”

That is from the concluding paragraph of an essay entitled “Preparing for the Next Pandemic” that one of us, Michael Osterholm, published in these pages in 2005. The next pandemic has now come, and even though COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in late 2019, is far from gone, it is not too soon to reach a verdict on the world’s collective preparation. That verdict is a damning one. 

There are two levels of preparation, long range and short range, and government, business, and public

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