I don’t mean to alarm you, but for the world’s viruses, this is a time of unprecedented opportunity.
And it isn’t just COVID-19.
An estimated 40,000 viruses lurk in the bodies of mammals, of which a quarter could conceivably infect humans. It’s troubling to imagine another pandemic rapidly taking the world by storm.
Most do not, given they have few chances to leap into our bodies.
However, these are on the rise.
Please explain in detail
A new study published in Nature argues that at least 10,000 virus species have the capacity to infect humans, but at present, the vast majority are circulating silently in wild mammals.
However, climate and land-use change will produce novel opportunities for viral sharing among previously geographically-isolated wildlife species.
In the future, diseases may emerge in tandem with climate change, which is defined as "zoonotic spillover."
Put simply, the warmer the Earth gets, the more chances that human beings will become infected with viruses.
Why is this generation defining?
Earth’s changing climate is forcing animals to relocate to new habitats in a bid to access their preferred environmental conditions.
Species that have never coexisted will become neighbors, creating thousands of infectious meet-cutes in which viruses can spill over into unfamiliar hosts—and, eventually, into us.
In other words, climate change will make pandemics more likely.
This is a startling prospect to consider and further cements just how crucial battling climate change is right now.