Who was nothing will become everything — epidemic kovid-19 gave these lines Mayakovsky completely new and very ominous sound. Until the beginning of 2020 respiratory viruses perceived all of us as unpleasant, but a very minor inconvenience. Now they rose to the rank of the threat number one. Do we have reliable ways to insure themselves against the recurrence of such threats in the future? One of the most powerful and terrifying experiences of my childhood was watching Soviet TV the American film “the next day”. To hard to scare millions of viewers around the world, the filmmakers this time are not required to come up with some scary sea monster or bloodthirsty space aliens. They just described the life of an ordinary American family in provincial Kansas city, and how the everyday life is suddenly interrupted by a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. From the moment when, covered with cold sweat, barely sat through the first series of this movie and refused to watch the second, it’s been 33 years. But fear of nuclear war still refuses to move out of my heart. Epidemic kovid-19 was for the people of Russia and of the whole earth very similar experiences.

As told in the bestselling book “the Monster at our door: the global threat of avian flu” by American author Michael Davis, in 1976, a group of leading doctors has warned the Minister of health of the United States David Matthews about the possibility of a repetition in the country in the near future the terrible flu epidemic of 1918 sample. By a happy coincidence, the Minister just read a book about the epidemic that has claimed the lives of many millions of people and treated it with the utmost seriousness. Overcoming the resistance to their skeptical colleagues and ignoring the taunts and even bullying hostile senators, David Matthews insisted on holding in America, mass vaccination of the population. Barely this campaign was conducted. But you know what happened next? Promised a terrible epidemic has not appeared and cautious Minister was branded by public opinion as a gullible fool. After retiring a few months into retirement, David Matthews no longer held important public posts.

In the foreseeable future, the collapse of the careers of politicians because of their heightened relationship to epidemic threats are unlikely to be possible. Scalded “milk” coved-19, the world will now be sure to blow on the water. Managers and politicians will act according to the principle: better to be safe and safe than to be reckless. But does this mean that a reliable system of protection against epidemic threats now sure to be built? No, it does not. Retired U.S. Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld in the time a lot of fun some very witty citizens, issuing confusing sounding sentence: “There are known known — things we know we know them. There are also known unknowns — things we know we don’t know them. But there are still unknown unknowns. These are things that we don’t know we don’t know them.”

Donald Rumsfeld deservedly has a reputation as arrogant and aggressive person and one of the main initiators it is ill-conceived us invasion of Iraq. So his words were ignored as another proof of the “brain perevernuto” the ex-Minister. And for good reason. This time Rumsfeld has said the truth. We can only guess about what today’s “minor inconveniences” in the future will suddenly turn into a threat of monstrous size. And the multi-stage set of precautions that will be introduced in response to the epidemic kovid-19, will not necessarily be effective against epidemic threats from the sphere of respiratory infections. The “unknown unknowns” we are not yet in the teeth. But the politicians now have a strong reason to pay close attention to those threats that are well known to specialists but which are not accepted to speak loudly out loud. Here are just a few examples of such threats.

the Golden age of viruses

According to initial estimates, 1912, the Titanic sank because watching that night for sea duty sailors in spite of their repeated numerous requests and were not provided with binoculars. Change the head of the watch locked these binoculars in a special box and went to sleep, taking this key with you. And when “armed” only with their own eyes the sailors spotted the iceberg, it was too late. According to initial estimates, 1986, accident at Chernobyl happened because lost the vigilance of plant operators pulled the wrong handle and clicked the wrong button. According to initial estimates, in 2020, the epidemic kovid-19 has covered the world because a the remaining as-yet unknown Chinese have feasted on infected bat or other similar wild animals.

In the first two cases, the installation of “bring down all on the switchman” has long been shown to be ineffective. It turned out that the cause of these disasters have become not random error “little people”, and the failures of the big bosses, coupled with the entangled structural problems of the industry-wide scale. It is expected that roughly the same thing will happen in our present case. The exact nature and sequence of events that led to the great pandemic coronavirus 2020, may remain unknown. But did we have to dig into the particulars and look for the ill-fated “gourmet” from China? Those experts, who have in recent years predicted that in the near future the world can cover a wave of dangerous respiratory diseases, has based its predictions not only on the gastronomic preferences of our great Eastern neighbor.

Consider these predictions at the example already mentioned above, the book by American journalist Mike Davis “Monster gate”, which was published in 2005. Describing this monster, whose coming will put our world upside down, Davis missed a little bit. According to the forecast American journalist, killer disease on a world scale was meant to be a coronavirus and another respiratory disease -avian influenza. But, if the output of the bracket this item, collected by Mike Davis ‘ predictions were accurate just prior to the yeast in the knees.

” the Most authoritative researchers of the flu yet since 2001, tried to attract the attention of world medical community to the growing threat of bird flu — the leader of the researchers, Robert Webster incessantly repeated in his speeches: “If the pandemic starts today, clinic will choke because of the influx of patients and shortage of medical staff, and many of the doctors will instantly turn into patients….To reduce the risk of infecting the General population, at least initially, will always have to stay in their homes.”

based On what 15 years ago was done so amazingly accurate predictions? I’ll try to untwist a logical chain from the beginning. According to published in 2015, the UN estimates, in the first year of our era on earth lived only 300 million people. For the next thousand years this number has increased by only ten million. For the next 500 years, the dynamics increased, but only slightly. In 1500 the world population was approximately 500 million people. In 1800 the human race consisted of 978 million people, a hundred years later — a billion 650 million people. But then, as you know, there was a population explosion. Five years ago it was 7 billion 349 million. Projections for 2100 range in scope from ten to thirteen billion.

These figures look fantastic from two points of view: from the point of view of increasing the speed of the process and terms of a discrepancy between what is happening on a global scale, with our Russian realities. As everyone knows a visitor or a resident of the Russian province, we do not suffer from the explosive growth of the population. Our opposite problem-depopulation. In other European countries the situation is more favorable. But the explosive growth of the population is not observed and there. From 1913 to 2000, the population of the Old world increased less than half — from 498 to 749 million people. To see this growth firsthand, onto arrive in some third-world region. Take, for example, Africa. In 1913 there were only 125 million people in 2000 to 798 million. According to forecasts of demographers in ten years the number of inhabitants of the black continent will reach one billion 449 million.

the question is: how and where all these “new people”? Know where: in the urban slums. Where are the slums, and disease. Call Mike Davis: “Urbanization in third world countries brings a problem of mass poverty of the population from rural areas to urban slums…95% of the increase of the Earth’s population will be at the expense of the poor urban population of southern countries that the most negative impact on the ecology of the disease. The simultaneous presence in the poor sanitary conditions of so many people, creates prerequisites for that well-known expert in environmental diseases fellow, University of Chicago William McNeill called the “law of conservation of catastrophe.” Here is what McNeill wrote about this: “the Constant increase in the population of potential carriers of the virus dramatically increases the likelihood of evolutionary modifications of viruses. Viruses increasingly use the new possibilities for reproduction, mutation, recombination and natural selection”.

Raises another question: what and where eat all these “new people”? Now, as Mike Davis looks like the answer is: “the Rapid urbanization observed in West Africa, involves increasing people’s need for animal protein. Traditional source of protein for West African Nations, as for people in East Asia, there were always fish. Moreover, until recently, in many countries the fishing industry, which accounted for a quarter of the total population of these countries was one of the main sources of national income. Now, local fishermen have been unable to compete with the giant European companies, whose trawlers to catch huge amount of fish in the Gulf of Guinea. These vessels sailing under the flags of foreign States, and along with the fishermen-poachers “carry out illegal fishing of valuable species, while 70-90% of fish caught is not for anglers generally of no value and sold them at the markets of different countries wholesale. As a result, the amount of fish biomass since 1977 has decreased by half. Respectively declined sharply and offer fish at the local African markets. While selling price of fish rose”.

If no fish, you have to go for the meat, right? Right. And in this collective quest for the meat and starts the “fun”: “Large foreign timber companies actively veFLS in Africa deforestation. Living in the forests animals are caught by the logging companies to ensure the sustenance of their vast state of sawyers. Moreover, there are frequent cases when hunters invade and protected areas. The result of all this is obvious – the contacts between man and wild animals has increased drastically. Were previously isolated microbial structure of rain forests and mountains unwittingly involved in the food industry in the cities. A consequence of the realization by viruses such “hidden” features become their frequent transition from mammal to man. The most significant example is of course, HIV/AIDS. Scientists believe that HIV-1 arose as a result of eating the meat of chimpanzees, while HIV-2(typical of West Africa) became black mangabey. In the fall of 2004 a group of scientists led by Nathan Wolfe and John Hopkins reported finding them in the meat markets of Cameroon, a new HIV-like retrovirus ( perhaps his source was the gorilla)”.

At this point of our conversation I’m ready to start taking just claims from readers. After all, the reason for such claims really are. First, the coronavirus has come to us not from some backward African countries, and from the state, which has long been a forerunner and driving force of the world economy — from China. And, secondly, I made it clear that the reasons now the coming of the Golden age of viruses does not boil down to the specific food preferences of residents of different exotic territories. Touché, you caught me. But patience very soon everything ends meet will be reduced.

Conveyor epidemics

Known for his jokes on the brink of a foul, the spouse of the British Queen, Prince Philip once said of Chinese food: “If it has four legs, but it’s not a chair, the Chinese will eat it. If it has two wings and it’s not a plane, then the Chinese will eat it. If it swims and is not a submarine, the Chinese will eat”. On the background of the main version of the appearance of coved-19 this old joke seems surprisingly relevant. But this relevance is, at least, not complete. The danger of new epidemics comes not only from the methods of obtaining food that transcends our time straight from the stone age. No less serious source of danger that modern methods of organization of agriculture and the food industry.

the Main source of food for the masses of new residents of third world countries is, of course, not forest animals and not insects. In third world countries want to consume the same as in the first world — meat, poultry and milk. Here’s how this is stated in the book of Mike Davis: “Despite what�� urban residents in third world countries much poorer than residents of States belonging to the Organization for economic cooperation and development ( this structure unites the countries of the West-MK), on the products containing animal protein, they all spend a significant greater percentage of their income. Therefore, the result of the increasing demand for meat products number of bird and pigs in recent years has increased dramatically. According to research by Australian scientists, “the share of meat and dairy products consumed in developing countries in 1997 has increased from 37% to 53%”.

Sometimes all the extra meat and dairy products grown by traditional methods in individual farms. Here is how these “traditional methods” look in one of the most densely populated and industrialized areas of China: “Guangdong is one of three key suppliers of poultry meat in the country. The average number of chickens alone in this province reaches approximately 700 million pieces…Often such a situation when “cage of chickens are directly above pig pens, with chicken manure falls into a trough from which pigs eat. In addition, as more area cities private poultry farms, formerly away from them, was in the vicinity of densely populated slums and hostels, which made the contact of urban residents and animals even closer”.

did You enjoy that chicken on your table does not come from individual farms in Guangdong? If Yes, then you are somewhat premature. About modern poultry farms super-Western Mike Davis also has something to say: “Today in North America, Brazil, Southeast Asia and Europe were the regions in which simultaneously there are hundreds of millions of poultry. For example, in Western Arkansas, and southern Georgia annually is hammered more than a billion chickens. The same can be said of the pig-breeding enterprises, often located in close proximity to poultry and, worse, the habitats of wild migratory birds. In other words, the ongoing urbanization of the population is accompanied by unprecedented centralization of livestock farming. A giant pig farm in Milford valley, Utah, discharges more sewage than the entire Los Angeles. Can these sort of artificial “huandoy” become a place where someday there will be a pandemic flu? And do not turn the concentration of production in the concentration of viruses?”

this posed a question, Mike Davis gives the expected positive response. His book is a long and grim list of local epidemics that occur regularly in the poultry INDUindustrial farms in different countries. Details of these epidemics, of course, different every time. But there are some common traits that regularly wander from country to country. “Avian diseases” are often thrown at people — farm workers, veterinarians, scientists, and those who just happened to be nearby. Faced with epidemics, controlling poultry farms international corporations and governments of different countries usually focus on the prevention of publicity and the understatement of the scale of the incident.

Measures against the “avian diseases” at the same time, of course, also accepted. But often they are not just ineffective, but even counterproductive. Here’s another one struck me to the core, the passage from the book of Mike Davis: “In January 2004, the British magazine New Scientist has caused a small storm by posting informal interview with one of the leading researchers of influenza, which claimed that the epidemic was the result of vaccination of birds ( “not controlled by the specialists of the experiment on the flu virus to study its evolution”), secretly and completely illiterate held in South China poultry giants during the Hong Kong ( epidemic -MK) crisis of 1997…According to New Scientist, “the simultaneous concealment of data about the epidemic and illegal actions of companies today created the perfect conditions for further spread of the flu.”

With relief he closed the book Mike Davis, I’ve wondered: why is the world epidemic of a dangerous new respiratory disease in all growth manifested itself only now? Why so long, we were carrying before? Epidemic monster in the form of not only coved-19, but new and dangerous forms of flu, whose imminent appearance is predicted in the book of Davis – not worth it at our door. It’s been turned inside — penetrated and slowly walking around our house, choosing the time for the application of our new crushing blow.

What can Russia do

In 1938, the future architect of American foreign policy towards the Soviet Union George Kennan served as a Junior diplomat at the U.S. mission in Czechoslovakia. Among other events, at the time of his stay in Prague fell, and the so-called Munich agreement: the shameful deal the leaders of France and Britain with Hitler under the terms of which Czechoslovakia was separated mainly populated by ethnic Germans. As he recalled Kennan, soon after this event he visited compatriot – ” attractive young lady with a great cap of gold hair.” However, the beauty of the lady vanished, when she explained why we came. Acting in the most aggressive and exalted manner, the visitor (the future wife of ERN��a hundred Hemingway, journalist Martha Gellhorn) demanded from his astonished interlocutors explanation: what steps they are taking to solve the problem of many thousands of refugees from German-occupied lands. America in those years had no influence in European Affairs, and the staff of its diplomatic mission in Prague was as much as eight people. Therefore, the visitor is considered a dangerous madman and as politely shoved out the door.

require Putin to solve the aforementioned problems is to assimilate the future companion of the great writer. All these problems are pronounced cross-border and international character. Their solution is beyond the capabilities of Russia or even any other single country. But to say that our government is powerless to change anything — is also to sin against the true. Russia is also a characteristic problem of overexploitation and consumer attitude to nature. In Russia, too, has its own well-developed food industry. Russia is peculiar not blindly copy the most successful “discoveries” of Western strategists in the healthcare sector.

I don’t want to remove responsibility from our officials and politicians. But actively conducted during the Premiership of Medvedev “optimization” of medicine is not our invention. Cut due to economic considerations, the number of hospital beds in some Western countries such as the UK it has become fashionable 30-40 years ago. According to some experts, in the period of the pandemic in the fashion industry, this fact has become one of the main reasons for a particularly large number of deaths on British soil. Fortunately, unlike the British, we did not get a sufficient far in the ways of optimization in medicine. Although, of course, “far enough” is a very relative concept. For those in our country, someone of ill-considered innovations in the health sector in previous years failed to obtain the necessary medical care, the argument “and in the UK is worse” is a very weak consolation.

And another important issue I would like to mention. In a recent interview to RBC global celebrity in the field of studying the influence of unpredictable and random events on the development of the world, the author of the theory of “black swans” of Nassim Taleb has made inter alia the following statement: “In the near future I see a threat more serious pandemic ( coronavirus-MK). This increase in bacterial resistance, which is due to the widespread use of antibiotics. With this problem already faced by American hospitals. Over time it may become fatal for humanity.”

by Making such ominous prediction, Nassim Taleb did not say anything particularly new. Experts from different countries withoutsuccessfully sounding the alarm about this problem for many years. The effectiveness of antibiotics now slowly but steadily declining. If the horizon of the next few decades, this trend is not halted, the world risks to return to the era before the invention of antibiotics — an era when diseases that are now not dangerous or relatively easily treatable, took away millions of lives.

Why is the world in this vital area is moving backwards? The answer again can be found in the book of Mike Davis: “the Giants of the medical industry more willing to invest money in marketing than in research projects, wrap old drugs in new packaging instead of developing new ones, and ultimately focused on treatment rather than prevention of diseases. Today, they spend 27% of their income on marketing goals and only one percent on the development of new drugs.” Of course, Russia cannot and should not try to solve this problem alone. But, in contrast to the deforestation in Africa, and poultry in China, here our country is quite obvious (at least theoretically) the opportunity to make a significant contribution.

Pandemic coronavirus is a good reason to remember that at the time our country played an important and sometimes leading role in ridding the world of many dangerous diseases. Isn’t it time for us to return in this respect to our roots? If Russia starts to fight the monsters of tomorrow, today (in the sense of — immediately after the suppression of coronavirus), these monsters in fact may not be terrible.