In just four months, the virus spread from China right throughout the world. By mid-April 2020, one quarter of the world’s population was on lockdown. At the end of June, the worldwide infection is continuing to rise, with more than 10 million confirmed cases. Global Death Toll Surpasses Half a Million (NYT, June 29th 2020). “History teaches us that pandemics can change things dramatically. Covid-19 will also change history dramatically?”
Which are the Covid19 impacts? Focus is on economics. With many people in lockdown and out of work, all the projection and plans made by January 2020 have collapsed. From the anticipated global growth of 3.3%, through a threat of a sharply negative growth, the second part of 2020 is reviving feeble hopes to overcome quickly the severe reality of worldwide economic crisis.
This economic crisis will affect even more the poor and the less developed countries
According to Oxfam International’s report, Dignity not Destitution of 9 April 2020, “Covid-19 could push half a billion people into poverty”. $2.5 trillion are required to provide “cash for those who have lost their incomes and a bail-out for small, vulnerable businesses” and to “cancel the staggering $1trillion debt which poor and developing countries are due to pay in 2020 to richer countries and institutions.” Thus, “will rich countries, who are borrowing phenomenal amounts of money for their own domestic needs, even think of responding to the plight of poor people globally?”, ask Sean McDonagh SSC in his article How Covid-19 will shape the future?
However, a new perspective is arising to connect the Covid19 pandemic with the destruction of biodiversity. McDonagh recalls the Spanish expression “God always forgives, we forgive but sometimes, nature never forgives,” that Pope Francis quoted while focusing “exclusively on the human element of the crisis.” Moreover, “many commentators on Covid-19 fail to make any connection between it and the destruction of the natural world which, in little more than two decades, has given us Covid-19, SARS, MERS, Ebola, HIV, Zika, and H1N1.”
Sean McDonagh adds, “No one mentioned the fact that large-scale deforestation, habitat degradation, intensive agriculture, trade in species and climate change all contribute to biodiversity loss and, in the process, facilitate the rise of new pandemics. For a long time, we have known that viruses and pathogens have leaped from other species to the human population. However, the destruction of biodiversity means that these events are happening much more frequently now than in the past. Worse still, pandemics will continue to happen at an even greater rate in the future unless we change some of the practices listed above.”
Today science knows better how to cope with pandemic thanks to cures or vaccines but, “given that humans are colonising every ecosystem, we can expect more and, often, more deadly pandemics in the future,” is his conclusion.
The ‘wet’ market in Wuhan, from where the virus spread everywhere, “animals who would seldom encounter one another in the wild such as civets, live wolf pups and pangolins are crammed together into small cages, often in filthy conditions. This is an ideal environment in which to incubate diseases.” “Ban wildlife markets to avert pandemics,” all together with ‘wet’ market, say a UN biodiversity chief.
Chinese however are not the only ones who trade wild animals. Viveca Morris wrote in the Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2020, “Every year, Americans pay to capture, box-up, and import hundreds of millions of live animals for agriculture, the pet and aquarium industries, and other uses.” “COVID-19 shows that what we’re doing to animals is killing us, too.” And
what about our modern, industrial farms? She answers, “In many places, we crowd cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other animals into crammed living spaces. These situations can become a breeding ground for viral and bacterial pathogens, so to ensure this does not happen, we lace their feed with antibiotics. This, of course, creates the perfect conditions for antibiotic-resistant pathogens to develop and thrive. We humans pay the price in the form of drug-resistant UTIs and MRSA infections.”
The conclusion of Viveca Morris is an advice for the future: “The ways humans destroy much of the natural world and engage in factory farming is based on the fallacy that what we do to the natural world will not have a negative impact on human health and well-being. Covid-19 tells us that this is untrue. Either we need to drastically change our ways of relating to the natural world, or get ready for the next pandemic. The choice is in our hands.”
To know more see, How Covid-19 Will Shape The Future?