Digging through a pile of magazines, I came across an issue of Time for May 15, 2017. The cover was an electron microscopy of the Ebola virus. We’ve all forgotten that scare haven’t we.

The accompanying article was about pandemics and would we be ready for the next one. We have had a few since the 1918 flu. Most alarming for my generation was polio. More recently we’ve had Ebola, zika and bird flu. Enough anyway to keep us on our toes.

But guess what? We got caught flat-footed by COVID-19. With no good excuses. With all the warnings from epidemiologist, we weren’t ready.

All we have had from Washington is a culture of anti-science and slashed budgets for the programs that could keep us insulated from pandemics.

The writers of the article hoped for better. Will we learn from this and get serious about pandemic preparations?

I’m not overly optimistic.

James T. Nelson


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