It's True, Covid and the Climate Crisis are Connected
It's September in Florida. It's hot and hurricanes are lining up to hit our coasts. We are also a hotspot for COVID-19. With the severity of both these crises at my front door, I can't help but think about how they are connected.
Climate change has exacerbated the effects of COVID-19. People that live in places with poor air quality, whether that's from pollution, wildfires, or other things, are more likely to die from both COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. These types of viruses are also becoming more common because of increasing temperatures around the world. As we push into untouched areas, animals are forced to find new habitats, often moving towards the poles to stay in their ideal temperature zones, which creates greater opportunities for the spread of disease from animals to humans. Additionally, research has connected many of the outbreaks of zoonotic diseases (illnesses that spread between animals and humans) to extreme weather events such as droughts and floods. These events will become more frequent as temperatures increase. Climate change has made conditions favorable for other infectious diseases like Lyme disease, water-borne diseases, and mosquito-borne diseases.
You have probably seen or heard about clear waters in Venice or smogless skies in LA during the lockdown. Obviously, it is great to have clear waterways and skies at least for a little while, but experts say that the lockdown will have a "negligible" impact on climate change, cutting global heating by only 0.01 degrees Celsius by 2030. That doesn't really move the needle.
Climate change and pandemics and clearly connected, and we need to fix the climate crisis to prevent other catastrophic events from happening in the near future.