Although COVID-19’s precise origins may always remain a mystery, the disease that has claimed more than 6 million lives, halted global economies, and caused immense suffering most likely came from a bat. The scientific term for the phenomenon in which a virus jumps from one species to another is “viral spillover.” A new study shows that climate change is creating ideal conditions for viral spillover, which could have resounding implications for human health in the not-so-distant future.
Research published in the science journal Nature on Thursday shows global warming is shaking the world like a snow globe, causing mammals to move into new areas in search of food and comfortable habitat, and at a faster rate than they would if human-caused warming didn’t exist. Those mammals carry diseases that can jump from animal host to animal host and, eventually, to human beings, sparking pandemics like COVID-19, or worse. Basically, climate change is making it difficult for animals to social distance from each other.
“As the world changes, the face of disease will change, too,” Gregory Albery, a disease ecologist at Georgetown University and a coauthor of the new ... Read more