TIME

Disease in a World Without a Leader

MANY PEOPLE BLAME THE CORONAvirus epidemic on globalization and say the only way to prevent more such outbreaks is to deglobalize the world: build walls, restrict travel, reduce trade. However, while short-term quarantine is essential to stop epidemics, long-term isolationism will lead to economic collapse without offering any real protection against infectious diseases. Just the opposite. The real antidote to epidemics is cooperation.

Epidemics killed millions of people long before the current age of globalization. In the 14th century, there were no airplanes or cruise ships, and yet the Black Death spread from East Asia to Western Europe in little more than a decade, killing at least a quarter of the population. In 1520, Mexico had no

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