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Peter Diamandis has raised a very important point:

For the first time, humanity stands united against a common problem.

We humans are phenomenal when faced with a concrete problem and a deadline. Now, tens of thousands of researchers and millions of others are working together to solve the same problem. Backed by almost an unlimited amount of money.

There is a good chance we will see some phenomenal breakthroughs.

The Manhattan Project and the Apollo Program pale in comparison to the Corona Project

The Manhattan Project and the Apollo Program are two good examples. Fear that Nazi Germany would be the first in developing a nuclear bomb caused the United States to launch the Manhattan Project, which presented itself to the world on August 6, 1945, with the bomb over Hiroshima.

It was a massive effort, with over 130,000 people involved, and several scientific breakthroughs.

A more positive example is, of course, the Moon landing. In 1961, John F. Kennedy promised that they would place a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth, before the end of the decade. Miraculously, they succeeded, in an even more massive effort than the Manhattan Project. At most, more than four percent of the US GDP was spent on the Apollo program.

As big as these two projects were, they pale in comparison to what humanity is now throwing into the fight against the coronavirus.

So far, the focus has been mostly on shutting down and trying to limit the spread, but behind the headlines the researchers are in full swing understanding, finding cures and creating a vaccine.

Now the Corona project begins

This is just the beginning of the Corona project. We have now really woken up and understood what Β tremendous damage a pandemic can cause, both in sick and dead people and in financial damage.

We will be investing massive resources over the next few years to ensure that this will never happen again.

A big difference between the Apollo program and the Manhattan Project is the openness. The Manhattan Project was top secret, and the Apollo program also very closed, to make sure we got to the Moon before the Russians. The Corona project is, to a large extent, completely open and we also have dramatically better opportunities to share knowledge with each other now, thanks to more democracy and technology.

Nothing is more important for rapid innovation than transparency and the sharing of ideas.

My TEDx talk about why ideas ARE worth spreading.

The Corona project is not just a medical project, but encapsulates all of society. Which leads me to my second argument why this may be the last pandemic.

We learn from our mistakes and this time we will learn immediately

Humanity has made many mistakes over the years. Our success is that we learn from them. Sometimes it takes a tiring long time for the lessons to sink in, but the lesson from the coronavirus we will learn quickly. It is obvious to everyone that we were largely unprepared.

Epidemiologists, WHO, and others had readiness and knowledge, but the rest of society was very surprised. It will not happen again.

Again, our digital, connected, global world will be an asset. Entrepreneurs, inventors, researchers, and bureaucrats will individually and together find solutions to all the problems that have emerged. Not only will we have larger stores of protective equipment, but we will also have ways to quickly start mass-producing them if needed. We will have effective mass testing systems and digital solutions to keep track of the spread.

Hacked scuba gear as respirator. 😲

We now also are getting a crash course and a much-needed push in the digital direction, with digital meetings, conferences and business. Already the fact that so much of our economy can be managed online will ease the economic downturn of the coronavirus.

Nobel Prize for coronavirus breakthroughs?

I am not naive and think it is impossible to experience a new pandemic, especially if the next virus spreads more easily and is more deadly. But what we are going through now will make us much better prepared to stop even such a virus.

And I wouldn't be surprised if the medical breakthroughs that come in the wake of the corona crisis will win one or more Nobel Prizes in the coming years.

This is a WIP article, part of our premium content for WIP members. Open for everyone thanks to the WIP members generous contributions.