I thought it might be worth starting a thread to focus on the big picture: not how to deal with the current crisis, but why it actually happened and how to minimise the risk of the next one happening any time soon.
As is very often the case, prevention would be much, much cheaper than trying to react to a crisis: Cost of preventing next pandemic 'equal to just 2% of Covid-19 economic damage' .Bird on a Fire wrote: ↑Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:43 pmWildlife biologists have been warning about this threat for decades. There are likely loads of potential COVID-level zoonotic pandemics in wildlife reservoirs that so far have not come into contact with globalised society.
As long as stuff like deforestation and unsustainable levels of wildlife harvesting (be it for food, medicine or exotic pets) is allowed to continue, this is going to keep happening.
I won't be holding my breath, though, given China's total disregard for international law and insatiable quest to eat endangered species from every kind of ecosystem imaginable - for example parking fleets right outside the Galápagos protected area (and in practice making frequent incursions within it, but switching their transponders off to avoid being tracked by Ecuador's wildly underfunded protection forces) to hoover up everything from sharks to sea cucumbers.The Guardian wrote:Spending of about $260bn (£200bn) over 10 years would substantially reduce the risks of another pandemic on the scale of the coronavirus outbreak, the researchers estimate, which is just 2% of the estimated $11.5tn costs of Covid-19 to the world economy. Furthermore, the spending on wildlife and forest protection would be almost cancelled out by another benefit of the action: cutting the carbon dioxide emissions driving the climate crisis.
The key programmes the scientists are calling for are: much better regulation of the wildlife trade, disease surveillance and control in wild and domestic animals, ending the wild meat trade in China, and cutting deforestation by 40% in key places. There was a clear link between deforestation and virus emergence, they said, with forest bats the likely reservoirs of the Ebola, Sars and Covid-19 viruses, and tropical forest edges a “major launchpad” for new viruses infecting humans.
“It’s naive to think of the Covid-19 pandemic as a once in a century event,” said Prof Andrew Dobson at Princeton University in the US, who led the analysis. “As with anything we’re doing to the environment, they’re coming faster and faster, just like climate change.”