The international flow of people, goods, and intangible information has expedited the spread of deadly pandemics. From the plague, to the flu, to measles and AIDS, there is no doubt this chunk of globalization has done harm just as it has done good. With a few exceptions such as increased travel, other key parts of globalization, rather than contributing to the formation of pandemics, seem to counteract them. Technological advancement leads to healthcare practices of greater efficacy. Loans give poorer countries a head-start. Diplomatic collaboration ensures countries have places to turn to in times of need. Thus, global trade is the foremost perpetrator in the spread of these diseases. For instance, a virus that originates in a small region is contracted by patient zero, who then transmits it to several others, and so on. The virus, contained in the country, would have to spread quickly and to as many people as possible, before the patient is killed by the illness or recovers from it and becomes unable to continue transmission. These conditions do not favor the disease, especially in communities in which residents share little contact with strangers. It is likely that the illness will resolve itself within a family or other small group of people. One can conclude the potential for the disease to become a global pandemic is rather low, but does become significantly higher when globalization and trade is brought into play. In the case that people are interacting on a global scale, it is exponentially easier to transmit an infectious disease.
1. How much does the public value trade at the risk of a global pandemic?
2. If globalization ceased, does this ensure an infectious disease is contained within a country’s borders?
3. How does a country handle tracking a disease on a global scale?