Climate Change and Viruses


Climate Change and Viruses

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Climate Change and Viruses

“Climate change is contributing to the spread of dangerous viruses and diseases to the human population”.

Henry W. Clearsky
sustainabilityforlife.com

Note: Communicating this information as news to others is free of charge.5

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Introduction

  • There is not a confirmed scientific direct connection from Climate Change to the COVID-19 virus.
  • There ARE multiple credible articles over the last decade that describe a connection between global warming and the rise and spread of dangerous disease to humans.
  • This presentation defines these connections.
  • Six news articles, each with a different aspect of the problem.
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CBS News, April 22, 2020, 5 things to know about climate change and coronavirus with WHO Climate Lead Dr. Campbell-Lendrum

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  • Air pollution kills 7 million people a year throughout the world. 9 in 10 people round the world are inhaling polluted air.
  • But air quality has largely improved due to the coronavirus outbreak. 30% reduction in pollution (many industrial facilities and vehicles are shutdown).
  • 70 percent of the world's infectious diseases have come from the natural environment, with many from animal-to-human contact. Damage to the environment makes it more likely these diseases will emerge.
  • Climate change didn't cause coronavirus -- but it can help spread future pandemics. Overall environmental damage seems …. to increase the risk of future pandemics.
  • Adjusting our diet can be better for both you and the environment. Cows produce methane gas. Vegetarian diet is healthier.

Fox News, Nov. 13, 2019, The Climate Crisis will profoundly affect the health of every child alive today

  • At the current rate, global temperatures will be 7 deg F hotter in 70 years.
  • This means more disease, famine, early death from natural disasters.
  • Climate Crisis: children are suffering from asthma, diarrheal disease, dengue fever.
  • Heat waves have gotten longer and more frequent.
  • The health benefits from clean energy far outweigh the investment costs.

Medical News Today, April 3, 2020, How might climate change affect the spread of viruses?

  • We know from past epidemics that changes in temperature, rainfall, and humidity can have profound effects on the spread of infectious disease.
  • Warm water in the Pacific… can provide perfect conditions for the spread of yellow fever.
  • Changes in temperature, rainfall, and humidity will have effects on the world’s animals and ecosystems.
  • Climate change might increase the likelihood of viruses jumping from wild species into our own. (…new diseases to which humans have little immunity)
  • Climate change could increase the biting rate of insects, which carry disease.
  • Rising temperatures can affect the availability of food for wild animals, the quest for food may bring them in closer contact to humans.
  • When temperatures rise, people in need of food sell wild animals for food in markets. These wild animals can be hosts for viruses.
  • Mild winters … make it easier for viruses to spread the following year, resulting in worse outbreaks.

Scientific American, April 29, 2020, How a Warming Climate Could Affect the Spread of Diseases Similar to COVID-19

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  • The higher ambient temperatures expected with a changing climate could…favor pathogens that will be more difficult for people’s body to fight.
  • Imagine that the world is hotter and that lizards adapt to live in temperatures very close to yours. Then their viruses adapt to higher temperatures
  • A warming world could also have an effect on humans’ other defense mechanism: the immune system… either directly via higher temperature or indirectly via its effects on global food security.
  • ….. Climate change disrupts a lot of patterns—of human behavior, of insects and even [of] bats — from which the COVID-19 virus and other deadly coronaviruses likely originated.
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The Washington Post, April 15, 2020, Climate change affects everything - even the coronavirus

  • Climate change is frequently described as a threat multiplier…
  • By altering the environment at a faster rate than any other moment in geologic history, scientists say, humans have created a wealth of chances for viruses to evolve.
  • Climate change …. forces animals to migrate, producing new kinds of animal-to-animal and animal-to-human interactions.
  • A Harvard University study of those sickened in the Covid-19 pandemic showed that people living in polluted environments are far less able to fight off the disease — an issue that will become even more prominent as the planet warms.
  • … humans cannot be healthy unless the planet is, too.
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Fox News, August 5, 2020, Bill Gates claims pandemic's 'misery' will 'happen regularly' if climate change is not stopped

  • "If you want to understand the kind of damage that climate change will inflict, look at COVID-19 and spread the pain out over a much longer period of time.“
  • Gates estimated that the death toll from climate change would match that of the pandemic by 2060, and exceed it fivefold by 2100.
  • The economic impact of climate change over the next two decades, he added, could be "as bad as having a COVID-sized pandemic every ten years.“
  • “So just as we need new tests, treatments, and vaccines for the novel coronavirus, we need new tools for fighting climate change: zero-carbon ways to produce electricity, make things, grow food, keep our buildings cool and warm, and move people and goods around the world,"

Summary

Climate Change and warming temperatures are increasing the transmission and spread of dangerous viruses in a variety of ways:

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  • Increase in insects biting
  • Animals live in a warmer world, their viruses adapt to higher temperatures.
  • Animals are coming into closer contact with humans
  • Viruses jump from animals to humans
  • Living in a polluted environment reduces the ability of humans to fight off viruses.
  • Human and economic toll from climate change could exceed pandemic impact.