The Coronavirus Outbreak Is the Shape of Things to Come

Workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant at a market in Bupyeong, South Korea, Feb. 24, 2020 (Newsis photo by Lee Jong-chul via AP Images).
Workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant at a market in Bupyeong, South Korea, Feb. 24, 2020 (Newsis photo by Lee Jong-chul via AP Images).

The Wuhan coronavirus, now officially named COVID-19, reveals how vulnerable humanity remains to virulent pathogens. A century after the devastating Spanish flu pandemic, public health officials are scrambling to prevent this latest plague—which as of Feb. 24 had infected more than 79,000 people in at least 29 countries, most of them in China—from becoming another pandemic. As they do, it’s worth taking a step back to consider the stubborn staying power of infectious disease. Far from an anomaly, this outbreak is the shape of things to come. Humanity is currently experiencing its fourth great wave of infectious disease. The first […]

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