Published On: Sat, May 2nd, 2020

Coronavirus: ‘It’s a double-edged sword’ How next deadly outbreak could spread in 36 hours | World | News

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More than 3.4 million people have been tested positive for coronavirus so far, which has led to the death of more than 240,000 worldwide. The deadly outbreak, which started in Wuhan, last December continues to alter every part of life for populations across the globe – including self-isolation, lockdown and other measures. Even after these restrictions are ended it is feared that a second wave of the pandemic could spread. While scientists tirelessly work to produce a vaccine for COVID-19, it is accepted this is not the only pandemic we are likely to face in our lifetimes. Special pathogens expert Dr Syra Madad warns a further 200 viruses are waiting in the wings at any one given moment in history. She told that any of them could develop into the next pandemic and due to our “global society”, it could cripple populations across the globe within as little as 36 hours.

In a warning to world leaders, Dr Syra Madad stated more needs to be done in preparation for “inevitable” future pandemics.  

The special pathogens expert, who appeared on the Netflix show ‘Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak’, explained the next coronavirus may already be on our radars

She told “We track anywhere from one to two hundred or more infectious diseases and a number of those are outbreaks that require the attention of multiple different countries.

“If you see the number of infectious outbreaks around the world, it’s only a matter of time before we see another outbreak like coronavirus.”

Dr Madad claimed a number of potential pandemics have already occurred within the last two decades and that any of them could have developed into an deadly outbreak like coronavirus. 

She cited Zika virus, which “went around the world” last year but mainly targeted pregnant women and children, as well as Ebola and Swine Flu (H1N1) years before that.

Dr Madad told “All recent pandemics within these years are very concerning and we know that they are going to constantly happen around the world.

“We have the perfect ingredients for this to happen because we live in a global world where in 36 hours one outbreak can reach every continent. 

“These outbreaks are inevitable and will continue to pop-up because we live in a global society – it’s a double edged sword – but means we need to invest in preparing for these outbreaks.”

She explained that due to the easy availability of flights an infected person – whether they know they have symptoms or not – can transmit a disease to countless others.

Due to the high number of footfall within airports and the close proximity people are in, this risk is amplified. 

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“Future outbreaks will occur fast and furious but we can change the trajectory of these outbreaks by how well we are prepared for them.”

Despite the bleak outlook, Dr Madad believes the public and world leaders across the world have learnt a lot from the current outbreak, which could help when another strikes.

She hopes that people are more aware of personal hygiene, self-isolation when they are sick and aware of how to avoid contracting viruses. 

As for the Government, she admits more spending is needed in public health, global health security tools and other resources – but improvements have been made.

Mr Madad believes the groundwork has been laid for more investment in all of these areas – now that the world has witnessed the damage that one outbreak can cause. 

She told “Coronavirus has rewritten the course of history in the sense that we will never be the same again and how we respond to infectious diseases will not either. 

“Coronavirus shows us what a tiny virus that we can’t see with the naked eye can do and the enormous amount of havoc it can cause.”

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