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The Deadly Urgency of Now

The consequences of lapses in international cooperation in combating COVID-19 over the last few months can now be counted in lost lives. Having failed to stop the first wave of the pandemic, we must not make the same mistake again.

LONDON – “This is not a discrete one-off episode,” Wellcome Trust head Jeremy Farrar has warned. “This is now an endemic human infection.”

COVID-19, as Farrar suggests, knows no boundaries, geographic, political, or otherwise. Nor must our efforts to defeat it. No one can be truly safe unless the disease is tackled wherever it takes hold.

To prevent what many scientists now fear – a second wave of the pandemic later this year – we must urgently act where the need is most pressing: in the world’s poorest countries. As Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has warned, if the coronavirus sweeps through Africa, it will return to haunt us all.

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