The novel coronavirus, aka MERS-CoV has claimed the life of a Frenchman who contracted the virus while visiting Saudi Arabia. He also passed on the infection to his roommate at the hospital he was being treated at. No word on the condition of the roommate as of yet. So far of the 40 confirmed infections there have been 20 deaths. A 50% mortality rate. horrifying!
In earlier times, prior to travel by train and especially train such a disease could take many months to reach across oceans and infect those far away. Not anymore. Someone who has just contracted the virus but is not showing any symptoms can hop a flight and be in many different countries in hours before becoming sick infecting everyone along the line. As another example, look at Haiti where conditions are still a whole level below horrible following the 2010 earthquake (I was there following the earthquake. Conditions in Hell must not be much worse). Just imagine over a million people still living in tents wallowing in conditions that would horrify the most wretched homeless person in New York. There are still many international aide workers doing their best to help. Just imagine a disease like the coronavirus or the H7N9 influenza being introduced there? The death toll could rival that of the earthquake.
So remember you Emergency Managers, FEMA and Hospital officials out there. Pay attention to what's going on an start thinking about making plans now instead of waiting for the disease to arrive. If you don't your going to be sorry. And should be out of a job.