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There are 8 comments on Why Combating a Pandemic Is 500 Times More Expensive Than Preventing One

  1. “Significantly reducing transmission of new diseases from tropical forests would cost, globally, between $22.2 and $30.7 billion each year.”

    “In China alone, wildlife farming…is an approximately $20 billion industry, employing 15 million people.”

    I’d be interested to see how these figures reconcile.

    1. Hi, AB. Not sure what you mean by “reconcile” (i.e., with what?) but our calculations and estimates are transparent- they are all in the supplementary materials. If you want to dig deeper down still, I can try to address any specific questions you may have. As for any estimate of this kind, one could argue each figure back and forth, but this would be unlikely to alter our general conclusion that prevention is more efficient and economical than dealing with full-blown pandemics. That is not rocket science! The bonus- all the other benefits that come from sustaining tropical forests and our relationship with them- is enormous, though difficult to calculate due to there being many values that are non-market or otherwise difficult to monetize (and that does nothing to diminish their real value).

  2. There’s a huge contradiction in BU highlighting this essential research while simultaneously shutting down the one undergrad experience looking at these questions up close, in Ecuador. Sad.

    1. Dear BL,

      Thank you for pointing this out. I might have said something pointed while discussing the paper, but in fact we are working on a plan to reinstitute the Tropical Ecology Program with the University of San Francisco Quito and the Tiputini Biological Station. The economics of the time are witheringly harsh, but we’re hoping to find a way to reinstitute this incredible undergraduate learning opportunity after this year. There have been supportive letters to the BU administration…and more can’t hurt!

  3. Certainly seems so today. Viral and regenerative farming experts like Zach Bush MD have some ideas that might weave nicely with your impressive work and goals. Being that viruses are life giving and life sustainably necessary finding a balance balance between nature and our human behavior is a must. not an option. Thank you for opening this discussion. We cant truly put a price on the value of the health of our earth nor our people yet it seems we continue to try. Glad to see those from BU in on the conversation.

  4. SPH alum here. I applaud your work. This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about public health- it’s so difficult to quantify prevention that people don’t notice it until things go terribly wrong. It’s like tech support- no one calls when nothing’s wrong. Keep fighting!

  5. Awesome work! Keep raising awareness and lights will go on for others to align and support your research and findings. LJY Class of 1980!

  6. Developing countries such as Indonesia are clearing forests to grow crops for exports. Possibly the only lever that the wealthy export destinations in the West can pull is to impose environmental standards in trade agreements. Sustainable Development has become a key focus for the EU ( and has resulted in the imposition of environmental standards in its bilateral agreements. However the US and other leading economies are yet to follow this approach. For exporting nations, instead of viewing the implementation of preventative measures for sustainable development as compliance costs, as this article alludes to, these could instead be viewed as an investment to buy non-tariff access to the consumers in large trading blocs. There needs to be a business case to invest public or private funds.

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