The rapid and global spread of the deadly new coronavirus caught households, business leaders, investors and policy makers off guard, but health experts and economists who study pandemics say it shouldn’t have come as a surprise at all.

Epidemics of infectious diseases have become a regular part of the global landscape in the past quarter-century, thanks in part to economic trends including urbanization, globalization and increased human consumption of animal proteins as society becomes more prosperous, these experts say.

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