About This Source - Bloomberg QuickTake: Now
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Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “What Links Coronavirus and Climate Change | Net Zero” – below is their description.
Turn back the clocks a few months. It’s September 2019. The World Bank and the World Health Organization have together put out a new report on pandemic preparedness.
“Few natural hazards threaten more loss of life, economic disruption, and social disorder than large-scale disease outbreaks,” the report said. But the world is under-investing in forward planning “despite evidence that suggests more attention to preparedness would be cost effective.”
Between 1997 and 2009 zoonotic outbreaks—pathogens crossing over from animals to humans—that did not become pandemics cost the world economy $6.7 billion each year. Pandemics cost a lot more. A new influenza-type outbreak on the scale of the 1918 pandemic could cost as much as $3 trillion, or about 5% of global economic output, the joint World Bank-WHO panel projected.
The cost of preparing against the threat would be a mere $3.4 billion each year. In other words, the report concluded, every $1 spent on preparation would yield at least $2 in economic savings—and potentially a lot more if it curbs a pandemic. Much of the money will be spent strengthening health infrastructure in poor countries, which could help alleviate poverty because infectious diseases disproportionately affect the poor. All that is, of course, secondary to avoiding the grief of losing countless lives.
Covid-19 has already claimed more than 70,000 lives, with the worst expected to come. The novel coronavirus is not as transmissible as influenza, but none of us have any form of immunity to it. Early estimates of the cost to the global economy range from $1 trillion to $4 trillion.
If the world had spent adequately on preparing, a lot of that pain could have been avoided. It’s a lesson worth heeding when tackling the other crisis that hasn’t gone away: climate change.
Also in September 2019, the World Bank participated in the publication of a different report on preparing against climate change. It found that spending $1.8 trillion in the coming decade on climate-friendly measures would generate $7.1 trillion in economic benefits. In November 2019, the Economist Intelligence Unit found that, if the world doesn’t do more to cut emissions, the economic cost could be as much as $7.9 trillion each year by the middle of the century.
Covid-19 and climate change are different types of crises. The pandemic will be over within years and a single technological solution (vaccines) can bring it to a halt sooner. Climate change will cause devastation for decades to come, even if we start cutting emissions, and it cannot be solved with technology alone.
Despite the differences, both crises pit humans against fundamental laws of nature. Because we understand physics, chemistry, and biology so well, we are granted the advantage of foresight. We may have thrown away some of that advantage in controlling the spread of coronavirus, but that only means there isn’t much room for excusing continued climate inaction. (In another unfortunate twist, like most large events this year, the pandemic has delayed the annual UN climate conference, which coordinates the world’s response to the climate crisis.)
“Preparedness is a choice,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development, who worked on a pandemic playbook for the US government under former President Barack Obama. “The decision not to prepare in the face of an obvious threat is no excuse when you find that threat is overwhelming later on.”Bloomberg Quicktake: Now YouTube Channel
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In This Story: Barack Obama
Barack Obama is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, Obama was the first African-American president of the United States. He previously served as a U.S. senator from Illinois from 2005 to 2008 and an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004.
Obama left office in January 2017 and continues to reside in Washington, D.C.
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In This Story: Climate Change
Climate Change is the name commonly given to the notion that the Earth is undergoing a changing climate as a result of human activity, including notable leaders, scientists and naturalists including Sir David Attenborough.
Climate change includes both the global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns.
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The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
- a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
- shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)
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Below are stories from around the globe related to the 2020 outbreak of novel Coronavirus – since the WHO gave the Covid-19 naming. Most recent items are posted nearest the top.