More pandemics will happen due to climate change: Experts

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 11, 2020

An activist holds a placard during a protest and action against climate change

Cite deforestation, urban crowding, wet markets for wild game as causes for pandemics

As the world looks to the development of vaccines against coronavirus in order to contain the widespread pandemic, many scientists and health experts, including the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci, have speculated that the world has just entered a pandemic era.

There is a scope of numerous pandemics taking place one after the other or simultaneously. According to experts, the major factor that will drive these pandemics is climate change.

“I don’t have a crystal ball, but what we are seeing looks very much like an acceleration of pandemics,” Dr David Morens, an official at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told BuzzFeed News.

He cited deforestation, urban crowding, and wet markets for wild game as reasons that could cause a pandemic.

According to meteorologist Jeff Masters, who wrote for Yale Climate Connections, the possible role of climate change is rather complicated. The virus survives better in colder temperatures. Hence, when global warming rises, people would prefer staying at homes and resorting to air conditioners. This is where the spread of the disease would likely accelerate.

Another scientist quoted in the US Today, Dr. Aaron Bernstein, director of Harvard Universitys T H Chan C-CHANGE program also thinks that climate change will drive pandemics.

He said to US Today: “We do know that climate change alters how we relate to other species on earth and that matters to our health and our risk for infections.”

He added: “As the planet heats up, animals big and small, on land and in the sea, are headed to the poles to get out of the heat. That means animals are coming in contact with other animals they normally wouldn’t, and that creates an opportunity for pathogens to get into new hosts.”

Meteorologist Michael Mann of Penn State University also believes that there could be at least an indirect relationship between the cause of the coronavirus and environmental degradation.

He believes that massive deforestation, disruption in rain cycles, and global warming, have disturbed the natural habitats of various viruses and pathogens. This made the exotic disease-carrying creatures displace themselves to other areas, which further led to increased human contact.

Published on September 11, 2020

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