The next pandemic is on its way. Coronavirus must help us prepare for it | Sally Davies

Scientists estimate we will face a health emergency at least once every five years. Our new initiative seeks a better response

• Sally Davies is a former chief medical officer for England

We are at a crossroads. As the impacts of Covid-19 continue the world over and the second wave moves through Europe, we have a choice to make. Will we simply respond to the here and now, or do we take a moment to stop, look up and see beyond the horizon of this pandemic towards the next one?

Because there will be a next one. Covid-19 is neither the first nor the last health emergency we will face. My fellow scientists estimate that we will face a pandemic or health emergency at least once every five years from here on. There is a chance that this is the optimistic scenario. The reality could be far worse.

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