Past pandemics offer cluesScience ’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation. “When we ask, ‘How does the epidemic change society?’ it suggests there’s something in the disease that will guide us. It gave rise not only to new sanitation practices, but also to enduring public health institutions. Cholera “was the stimulus for the first international meetings and cooperation on public health,” Rosenberg says now. There was no vast investment in public health infrastructure, no mammoth infusion of money into biomedical research.