Climate change may make pandemics like COVID-19 much more common: Study
Climate change is likely to increase the number of viral transmissions across species, posing further risk to other animals and humans, according to a study published in Nature.
The likelihood of an extreme epidemic, or one similar to COVID-19, will increase threefold in the coming decades, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The researchers used data from epidemics from the past 400 years, specifically death rates, length of previous epidemics and the rate of new infectious diseases. Their calculation is a sophisticated prediction based on known risks and can be a useful guide for policy makers and public health officials.
They also found that the probability of a person experiencing a pandemic like COVID-19 in one’s lifetime is around 38%. The researchers said this could double in years to come.
The probability of another pandemic is "going to probably increase because of all of the environmental changes that are occurring," Willian Pan, an associate professor of Global Environmental Health at Duke University and one of the study's authors, told ABC News.
Scientists are looking closely at the relationship between climate changes and zoonotic diseases, like COVID-19.