COVID-19 linked to environmental degradation

Digital illustration of Earth in space with the shape of a COVID-19 particle

On April 10, 2020, Issues in Science and Technology published an article by ASU Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Founding Director Leah Gerber titled “A Global Strategy for Preventing the Next Pandemic.”

While the media and the public are focusing on the wildlife trade as the main factor for COVID-19, Gerber believes it is only one part of the equation. In this publication, she explains how environmental degradation has contributed to the transition of disease from animals to humans.

In addition, Gerber recommends viable solutions to combating future infectious diseases by implementing a global body backed by science, which she calls the Zoonotic Disease Commission.

The ZDC would have to implement three pressing tasks to combat future pandemics. These tasks include (1) supporting and speaking for basic science, (2) becoming a global governance regime with regulatory influence and (3) transforming the global economy and markets to avoid these risks.

“The science is clear: our risk of contact with new viruses has exploded over the last three decades, and the forces behind the drivers of that contact—environmental degradation, species loss, and wildlife trade—are too powerful for a world without ZDC to constrain,” Gerber explains.

If actions alleviating environment degradation are not enforced, Gerber predicts pandemics will continue to aggravate and occur more frequently around the globe.