Report points out that half of the world population will be exposed to dengue, yellow fever and Zika virus by 2050; experts explain the relationship of environmental impacts with the emergence of new pandemics
Eon March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged that the coronavirus spread around the world, officially declaring the pandemic from Covid-19. In just a few days, the scenario of big cities changed: the streets, which used to be busy, emptied. Countries closed borders and the world stopped. Humanity, even without yet understanding the scale of what lay ahead, was forced to change its routine and incorporate new habits, or, as we now call it, to adopt health safety protocols. However, the emergence of pandemics was already expected by authorities and scientists due to the contemporary lifestyle. THE undoing from natural habitats brought to urban centers a whole chain of invaded ecosystems, which includes animals, fungi, bacteria, viruses and many species about which science still does not know the result of interaction with humans. The unknown, combined with poverty and poor nutrition, makes an explosive cocktail, assesses Ethel Maciel, epidemiologist and WHO consultant.
“The possibility of us having jumps in the species of viruses and bacteria increases a lot. It’s as if this report said ‘we are in the middle of a pandemic, but the next one is already being created’. Conditions for it to happen are already being created. In addition, we have already learned that people who have nutritional deficiencies will be more susceptible to developing a more serious disease, if they are infected”, he says. Global warming favors the expansion of populations of vectors of various types of diseases, such as mosquitoes. According to the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, half of the world’s population will be exposed to dengue, yellow fever and the Zika virus by 2050. But what really worries authorities and researchers around the world is the high probability that it will appear a new evil as unknown and dangerous as Covid-19. The preservation of ecosystems is the only way to prevent runaways, explains environmentalist Carlos Bocuhy. “Climate imbalance causes new vectors to have contact with people and this is very worrying, we need to maintain this balance in the sense that there is no unnecessary risk to society”, he points out.
O logging it also increases the incidence of diseases associated with poor air quality. Without this natural vacuum, more gases are released into the atmosphere, which is a lethal attack on the ozone layer. Figures from the United Nations Environment Program show that for every 1% of destruction of the Ozone Layer, approximately 50,000 new cases of skin cancer and 100,000 new cases of blindness, caused by cataracts, appear in the world. Ethel Maciel explains how the series of imbalances diminishes our immunity. “It decreases immunity and makes our own body susceptible to other diseases. Even if we have diseases directly caused by air pollution, we will also have opportunistic diseases, which can arise because our immune system is weaker”, he explains. The fragility of health systems in the face of the pandemic is an example of the scale of our vulnerabilities. Based on what has been seen so far, the report takes to the authorities the challenge of trying to understand what can cause so much disorder in the environment. “Climate change will cause fissures for a much longer period that we are still trying to understand,” says the document.
*With information from reporter Lívia Fernanda