We have been lucky this time, but there is quite a strong possibility that a virus will emerge one day that will have a death rate so high that it will be a severe threat to our civilisation, and even the very survival of our species. Health care services will collapse, governments will cease to function, food supply chains will break, and utilities such as electricity and water will fail as those needed to run power and pumping stations succumb to the illness.
We must consider the current COVID-19 pandemic as a wake-up call and make sure we learn as much as we can from it on how to prevent viruses spreading, and how we can speed up the development of vaccines, in preparation for the time that we encounter something far more deadly.
All nations of our planet should be working together on the following:
Create a Parallel Rapid Response Pandemic Healthcare System
Implementation time: five years
|A modular hospital design (wards and private rooms section). Such pre-designed hospitals could be prefabricated at a factory and rapidly constructed anywhere.|
Such a system could have purpose-built isolation wards in place within just a few days. If this is combined with social distancing and travel restriction measures then we would have a much better chance of containing even the most virulent diseases until a vaccine is developed.
Mandatory Pandemic Education
Implementation time: starting within a year
Self-Sustaining Underground Sanctuaries
Implementation time: 50 years
|Underground sanctuaries would be for very long term use and should be designed to maintain both the mental and physical health of those that live there|
Such underground sanctuaries should be spacious and comfortable, and they should be designed to for to maintain the psychological as well as physical health of the occupants. Sanctuaries such as these would be effective refuges against other threats too. Read this article: 'Surviving the Next Doomsday Asteroid Impact' for a more detailed description of the ideal underground sanctuaries.
Self-Sustaining Colonies Away From Earth
Implementation time: first colony within a century
Creating self-sustaining colonies away from Earth, wherever they are, is an immense challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Very large orbital habitats may well be the easiest with which to provide self-sustainability. If a large enough one was built and it was rotating to provide a simulated gravity similar to Earth on its inner surface, then a comfortable habitat with an Earth-like environment would be possible, with enough surface area for large-scale agricultural activity.
|A massive space habitat many kilometres in diameter. This design is based on a Bernal sphere, which was first proposed as far back as 1929 by John Desmond Bernal, an Irish scientist. The habitat rotates along its axis to provide simulated gravity for the inhabitants that live on its inner surface.|
The raw materials to build such enormous habitats are available in abundance in the asteroid belt, so the essential first step is to build up asteroid mining expertise.
If all of the above steps were taken our species and civilisation would be able to survive even the most extreme pandemics. Implementation should begin as soon as the current Covid-19 pandemic is under control.