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The COVID-19 pandemic underscores just how tightly interwoven humanity has become. A single infected animal somewhere in China set in motion a chain reaction with effects that, nearly a year later, are still reverberating in every corner of the planet.

This should not be particularly surprising. The history of pandemics tracks our unification as a species. The Black Death traveled on new trade routes forged between Europe and Asia in the Middle Ages. Smallpox crossed the Atlantic Ocean with the Europeans, devastating the Americas. And the 1918 influenza pandemic reached six continents in just months, owing to technological advances in moving goods and people. Each time humanity takes bold steps toward deeper integration, disease follows.

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