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As far as existential threats to the human species go, pandemics rank near the top of the list.
What’s the probability of an agressive, highly-fatal outbreak occuring soon? Is it high enough to worry about?
And if one occurs, what can/should we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones?
To address these questions, we interview John M. Barry, author of the award-winning New York Times best-seller The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. John was the only non-scientist to serve on the US government’s Infectious Disease Board of Experts and has served on advisory boards for MIT’s Center for Engineering System Fundamentals and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has consulted on influenza preparedness and response to national security entities, the George W. Bush and Obama White Houses, state governments, and the private sector.
His verdict? The risk of a massively fatal world-wide pandemic like the 1918 Spanish flu is remote, but very real — and is heightened by the hyper-connectedness of our modern society (i.e., the ease and speed with with people can travel). And our readiness for such an outbreak is woefully lacking.