World ready for outbreak?
In 1918, an influenza epidemic killed 100 million people. What would happen if another massive outbreak occurred today?
What would happen if an outbreak struck the United States today?
No country on Earth is fully equipped to handle a pandemic, according to an October 2019 report from GHSI. An infectious diseases expert broke down why the United States is falling behind — and how this could be catastrophic. A pandemic is the spread of disease across a whole country or the globe. The 1918 influenza pandemic is the deadliest on record, killing nearly 100 million worldwide. If an influenza pandemic began in the U.S. today, the response would be messy.
Similar reports and other evaluations have shown that the world isn't ready
“We haven't had a pandemic in many years. But if that happens, how does that impact things beyond the health sector. You do see unfortunately a lot of people who might have severe illness. Some people will die. And the larger that event becomes, of course, the more people will get involved. If there's a large influenza, say, outbreak in the United States, that starts to spread. We're not going to have options to protect people fully through a vaccine. Well, the first thing is we wouldn't necessarily know right when it happens. Right. A lot of things that cause panic. What we think cause pandemics like viruses, they look like things like the common cold,”
There's this change in human behavior that can happen
Despite advancements in technology healthcare communication, Shahpar says even the threat of outbreak can be as bad as the illness itself. The U.S. was ranked no.1 overall in the global readiness index out of 195 countries — with a score of 83 out of 100. But the few areas where the U.S. lost points could prove to be pivotal to combating an outbreak. The first week of an influenza outbreak in the U.S. today would be the most pivotal. After an initial outbreak, the consequences will bleed into more aspects of daily society. Despite the U.S. being better equipped than other nations to handle the logistics of an outbreak, the one field the U.S. is lagging in could prove to be the most important.