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Stopping the For-Profit Pandemic

Non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity account for over 40 million deaths per year, but these illnesses do not attract the same attention as COVID-19. That is not an accident.

WASHINGTON, DC – It has been less than two years since phrases like “flatten the curve,” “contact tracing,” “social distancing,” and many others related to the COVID-19 pandemic entered the lexicon and became part of everyday communication. People everywhere have learned more about epidemiology, virology, and immunology than they ever expected they would.

And yet, despite the increased attention to public health, few people can name the world’s leading cause of death. That is not an accident.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, account for over 40 million deaths per year, strain health-care systems, and impose significant social and economic costs. But they do not attract nearly the same attention as infectious diseases like COVID-19, even though they are largely preventable.

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