The Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19, has dominated news headlines. After emerging in China the virus has spread quicker than anyone could of imagined; at the time of writing the Pathagon has spread to 47 countries and killed 2,814 people.
The loss of life is not the only result of Covid-19; there has been widespread distruption to food production, flights, workplaces, schools, and financial markets. After the first case of coronavirus was found in the U.S. this week, that could not be linked to international travel, U.S. financial markets fell dramatically.
Fears continue to grow that this may be a pandemic. As the Virus continues to sweep the globe, countries such as Italy and Germany are finding cases of Covid-19 that have no connections to other patients with the virus, it is becoming clear that it may be too late to find the origin, and impossible to stop it spreading locally.
As the world prepares to fight the coronavirus, Netflix is showing a 6-part documentary; Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak. It is eerily timed, and a docuseries many people will be interested in watching. It follows experts around the globe as they find viruses that could travel around the world, killing many in it’s tracks.
Dr. Dennis Carroll, director of USAID’s Emerging Threats Unit, appears in the series, with a terrifying statement: “When we talk about another flu pandemic happening, it’s not a matter of if, but when.”
The premise of the documentary is that the world is due another Great Plague. There hasn’t been a deadly outbreak since influenza spread the globe over 100 years ago, killing 50 to 100 million people. This managed to happen when there were just two billion people on this earth, and no easy way to travel. So we can only imagine what an outbreak would be like now; with our huge overpopulation issue, mixed with millions of people travelling the world everyday, it seems to be the perfect storm.
The series examines the world healthcare system, seeing if we really are prepared for another deadly virus outbreak. With budget cuts to health services impacting the work these specialists do, it is scary to see how our politics could create devastating consequences to our health. The series also travels the globe to overcrowded hospitals in Jaipur, and healthcare workers scared for their lives while trying to fight the Ebola virus in Africa. In each corner of the globe we see people working non stop in order to preserve as many lives as possible, and this is what makes this series inspiring to watch; the dedication these poeple show in the face of adversity is striking.
As scary as this series is to watch right now, there is one good thing to take away from it. Despite what we are seeing online, and in the news, there are people behind the scenes working harder than ever to find a way to stop the coronavirus in it’s tracks. It may seem glib at the moment, but all we can do is try our best to prevent the virus spreading. And if our greatest fear happens? According to Carroll, “Every epidemic is an opportunity to learn.”