The need to prepare for an influenza pandemic has not yet sunk in, partly because disaster has not yet struck. But that good news could turn into very bad news if it leads to slacking off on necessary preparations today: although no one can predict when or how, a pandemic will occur for sure, and it will have implications far beyond its toll on human health.
Trumping all previous estimates, one German climatologist believes global sea levels could rise as much as 140 centimeters by the end of the century. That could mean catastrophic hurricanes and floods. But other experts discount the significance of the new model.
Recent discoveries related to avian flu could help control a possible future pandemic, but even as the global community and individual countries develop plans to combat the virus, experts say more work needs to be done.
Laurie Garrett, CFR senior fellow for global health, says the world is in a better position to handle a potential avian flu pandemic than it was two years ago. But she warns that we still don't have "a toolkit that can stop this virus from circulating" if it evolves to allow easy human-to-human transmission.
Sherry Cooper argues that the long-term economic effects of a pandemic could lead to considerable supply and demand effects. Loss of labour and trade would dominate the supply-side effect and social distancing and fear would increase the demand for essentials such as non-perishable food, water, medical supplies and health-care services, but reduce the demand for virtually everything else.
AMR Research conducted a survey of multinational corporations to assess their readiness for a pandemic. Of the 207 companies surveyed, 43% have policies in place to analyze risk in the event of a pandemic, while another 49% have policies under evaluation.
This report by the IMF's Avian Flu Working Group posits that once the pandemic has run its course, economic activity should recover relatively quickly. Both consumption and average hours worked might even overshoot the pre-pandemic level temporarily.
The deadly H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus has now crept well into Europe—infecting birds in Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, and Denmark—and now also threatens Africa. Experts are at a loss over how to best tackle what could be an imminent global pandemic.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.