20 to 30 billion each year seems like a vast amount of money, and it is, but not set against the 5 trillion dollars that is the estimated cost to the world (furthermore given the number of advanced countries in the world this could be as little as 1% of their government spending).
By directing this 20 to 30 billion dollars into a small number of activities we could reduce the risk of a repeat too close to zero.
The jobs that would have to be carried out for this money are
- Stem deforestation
- Halt the wildlife trade,one of the ways that new viruses get into the human population (help develop alternatives)
- Closely watch new viruses appearing
Given the huge benefits by saving rainforest and replanting them, there is a significant overlap between this outcome and halting and reversing climate change. Taking this into account drops the price to a maximum of 18 billion dollars worldwide per year.
There are thought to be around 1.5 million species of virus in the worlds wildlife, of which perhaps 700,000 are similar enough to make the leap to humans and be dangerous.
Many of these viruses originally live deep in the rainforest, protecting humans from them.as we cut down the rainforest we are exposed and they have the ability to work into the human population. This has happened multiple times over recent years, though thankfully covid-19 has been the first to lead to significant loss of life.
Before suggesting that this much money annually is way too much, 18 billion is 1 to 2% of the military spending of the top 10 countries in the world, therefore clearly affordable.
The idea that we could spend just 1% to 2% of what we lost to Coronavirus, to avoid further similar outbreaks. Seems a pretty good deal. Given our current behaviour as a species, a further outbreak is highly likely in the next decade or two. If we assume that this whole cost is purely to reduce the risks of further virus outbreaks, the the halting of rainforest destruction, and recovery is a total freebie- something that we otherwise have to find the money for elsewhere. likewise, water reserves are saved by this, as well as the rain causing behaviours of large rainforests.
It would seem that by saving humans from future viruses, we could also save large numbers of species from extinction and ecosystems from destruction. This also plays into the fight against climate change.