Friday, February 28, 2020

The Wuhan Coronavirus Event is a Great Example of the ADVANTAGES of Globalization

Luis Pedro Coelho, a computational biologist with a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, tweets from @luispedrocoelho :

The covid situation is a great example of the ADVANTAGES of globalization

First of all, there has been long-range commerce and disease transmission within the Euroasian landmass since the Bronze Age, so that's as far as we'd need to go back to protect ourselves from diseases in Wuhan

Of course, it'd take longer for the disease to reach Europe with less globalization, but it'd be much worse when it hit

Every place would be Wuhan, just a bit later

Now, it hits Europe, but we have testing developed for the Asian outbreak

We take lessons and tech from a Middle-Eastern infection (MERS)

The best potential treatment is from Gilead (a US company), originally developed for an African disease (Ebola)

Companies in the Bay Area are working on better testing based on CRISPR, a technology based on a discovery in Spain, from the sequence obtained from China

Companies all over the world are testing vaccines

The benefits of globalization are clear: deep specialization (a centre in Australia is a specialist in growing coronaviruses), common languages [if the Chinese had published their results in Chinese, not English, how much slower would progress be?], cross-fertilization...

It's not even clear that there are covid-related drawbacks: if the disease had taken 3 years to reach Europe, but seemed to "come out of nowhere" as back in the Middles Ages (see Black Death), would that be so much better?

Even North Korea has not been able to keep covid out and it's not because of how integrated into the global supply chains it is

So, unless your pitch is "North Korea is too globalized, but we could do better and be even more closed", take a breather and thank globalization for any hope of getting this thing under control



  1. I am not afraid of the virus. People with serviceable immune systems have little to worry about. Certainly less so then from the "seasonal" flu. What I am scared about is the panic frothing up around it. Mainly perpetrated by the Left for political gain.

    1. I must admit that it seems to be of a piece with other alleged crises that just happen to give the state another excuse for a step-up in power: Y2K, Ebola, 9/11, mass shootings, terrorism, swine 'flu, global warming, inequality, racism, the "Iran threat," the "Russia threat," the Global Financial Crisis, etc.

  2. Neither am I afraid of the virus, and it seems contrived given the constant promotion and obvious attempt at exploiting it for gain. I certainly have no interest in taking a vaccine created for other people's financial abundance.