“Contrary to what you see in movies, there is no group of experts standing by to prevent this disaster,” Gates said in a new TED talk. So far, it has been the case that if something happens, a team of experts is set up as quickly as possible, which then starts its work. From Gates’ point of view, however, this could certainly be changed.
He therefore proposed to establish a Global Epidemic Response & Mobilization (GERM) unit. “This group is working full-time – their only priority is pandemic prevention. It consists of a number of specialists with very different expertise – epidemiologists, data scientists, logistics experts – and it’s not just about scientific and medical knowledge. They must also have communicative and diplomatic skills, ” Gates outlined his idea.
However, it should not be easy to put this idea into practice. Because the costs would be quite considerable if the team were built in the way Gates imagines. After all, he calculates with a staff strength of the team of about 3000 people, which would be quite a realistic minimum in view of the global task. The financial resources would amount to at least one billion dollars a year. And this does not include the individual national authorities and organizations that dock with the GERM team as a second level.
Prevent major damage
On the other hand, however, such preventive spending would only be a fraction of what a full-blown pandemic costs. Corona has destroyed values in the global economy that ultimately make such investments seem comparatively small.
Gates compared this to the not exactly low costs that are spent annually on the 370,000 full-time firefighters in the United States and the operation of their infrastructure. These ultimately help to avoid much worse damage. And GERM should by no means just sit around as long as there is no threat of a pandemic. Rather, this team would also be constantly in use and would, as a side effect, also improve the health systems worldwide more and more, so that positive measurable effects are already occurring here.