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Scientists warn we should rethink how we feel about ‘pandemic era’

Anthony S. Fauci and epidemiologist David Morens wrote in a new scientific journal that human activity leads to spread of diseases.

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In this July 31, 2020 file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a House Subcommittee hearing on the Coronavirus crisis, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

In this July 31, 2020 file photo, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a House Subcommittee hearing on the Coronavirus crisis, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Kevin Dietsch, Associated Press

Dr. Anthony Fauciand epidemiologist David Morens want you to reconsider how we live in a new “pandemic era.”

The two explained that the novel coronavirus shows we’ve “entered a pandemic era” for human existence, and we need to consider how we work with nature, The Washington Post reports.

  • The scientists wrote in a report in the scientific journal Cell that human activity can be a massive contributor to spread diseases.
  • The new virus “should force us to begin to think in earnest and collectively about living in more thoughtful and creative harmony with nature,” the scientists wrote.

Disease emergence reflects dynamic balances and imbalances, within complex globally distributed ecosystems comprising humans, animals, pathogens, and the environment. Understanding these variables is a necessary step in controlling future devastating disease emergences. — the scientists wrote in Cell.

Morens told BuzzFeed Newsthat deforestation, urban crowding and wet markets all contribute to the spread of diseases, too.

  • “I don’t have a crystal ball, but what we are seeing looks very much like an acceleration of pandemics,“ Morens told BuzzFeed News.

Can we prevent them?

Emerging diseases expert Nikos Vasilakisof the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Princeton evolutionary biologist Andy Dobson told BuzzFeed News that pandemics — though an increasing trend — can be prevented.

  • “We need massive reductions in rates of environmental degradation, both loss of tropical forests and the egregious wildlife trade, otherwise the cage of emergent pathogens is wide open,” Dobson said.