Although the coronavirus pandemic has altered how people live for some time now, the knowledge that it will have an end is a faint light at the end of a long socially distanced tunnel. But, according to new research, that light may be further than we thought. Infectious disease expert and coronavirus task force voice of reason Anthony Fauci believes we may be entering a “pandemic era.” Because of course we are.
His assertion comes from a new report in the scientific journal Cell, whose author David Morens, a medical historian and colleague of Fauci’s at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicts that coronavirus might be only the first of a series of worldwide diseases. These types of diseases have been cropping up more and more frequently, according to research. The phenomenon is similar to the exponential growth of climate change, meaning if a “pandemic age,” becomes a reality, it joins humanity’s very real race to doomsday. Neat!
Pandemic illnesses are caused most frequently from older versions of themselves, reemerging as new mutant dangers, like the West Nile virus, Buzzfeed News explains. Or, they jump from wild animals to people, which is what caused COVID-19 and other types of coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS.
As for the culprit to this acceleration? It’s us, of course. For how humans are causing this acceleration, Fauci and Morens point to deforestation, urban crowding, and wet markets for wild game, which have been wreaking havoc for a century and contribute to environmental degradation around the world.
“We need massive reductions in rates of environmental degradation, both loss of tropical forests and the egregious wildlife trade, otherwise the cage of emergent pathogens is wide open,” Princeton evolutionary biologist Andy Dobson told BuzzFeed News.
Coupled with the knowledge that COVID-19 has already infected more than 25.8 million people worldwide and killed more than 858,000, hoping this theory is just that might not stop pandemic life from becoming some kind of twisted, Stephen-King-esque norm.