As scientists and public health officials race to control the spread of the deadly Coronavirus disease -- COVID-19, which first sickened people in China in December 2019 -- individuals around the world are grappling with the implications of a possible global pandemic. The virus has now spread to 50 countries and will test the strength and resilience of our global health system and infrastructure. This is a public health emergency, and while the leading concern remains the risk to human life, the spread of the virus also creates risk for the global economy and will have significant impacts on our energy system. Traders and investors are anticipating a severe economic slowdown, and oil prices have fallen sharply -- with eyes now focusing on next week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna to see whether the cartel will step in to prop up prices. The energy sector is scrambling to understand the outlook for the virus and efforts to contain it. Our guest today is a leading expert on public health and disaster preparedness, who will help bring the fight against the spread of the Coronavirus into context.
This week on the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Dr. Irwin Redlener, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Pediatrics at the Columbia University Medical Center and Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute. Dr. Redlener is a nationally-recognized leader in disaster preparedness and public health system readiness and children's health advocate. He is the author of “Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now.”
Dr. Redlener discusses critical and timely information, including what we know now about the COVID-19 disease, how we can prevent the spread of the virus, where to go for reliable information about the outbreak, and what the future impacts might be to public health, travel, the economy and more.