COVID-19 is a precursor for infectious disease outbreaks on a warming planet

Source(s): Hill, the
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By Christine James and Sweta Chakraborty


From the wildfires that destroyed millions of acres across Australia and California to a record-setting hurricane season, climate change has collided with COVID-19 to mark one of the most difficult years in modern human history. And while two highly effective vaccines have provided hope for the pandemic’s end, we must not become complacent. We must act aggressively on climate to prevent future pandemics from occurring more frequently.


In addition, animal species and humans are increasingly interfacing with one another, heightening the chance for exposure to EIDs. High levels of “land use change” for  farming and livestock breeding, or road building and mining, have led to outbreaks like the Nipah virus in Malaysia.


As these animals find a foothold, altered weather from climate change also contributes to the spread of EIDs like vector-borne diseases. These diseases rely on insects like mosquitoes or ticks for transmission into human blood and account for one-third of EIDs. With warming temperatures and changes in precipitation, these insects are now being found in unexpected places.


As we battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to address underlying environmental drivers is more urgent than ever.  President Biden’s ambitious climate agenda to achieve net zero emissions from the U.S. economy by 2050 is just one part of a multi-pronged approach.


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