To date, more than 4,500 people have contracted 2019-nCoV, the new coronavirus that first appeared in Wuhan, China and has spread to numerous countries around the world. The first death from the severe viral respiratory disease was announced January 11, and of those infected 100 more have died since.

Although 2019-nCoV isn’t the first disease of its kind, the world as we know it in 2020 is not the same as it was in 2002 or 2012, when the previous two coronavirus outbreaks, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), made their mark.

The World Health Organization may not have declared a state of public health emergency just yet, but it’s critical moments like these when the changing nature of twenty first century health systems comes into sharp relief. Technology, geopolitics, socioeconomic conditions—these colliding spheres of influence have always impacted human health, and they will no doubt shape the global response to 2019-nCoV.

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Originally published on Forbes (January 28, 2020)