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Why Climate Change Spreads Infectious Diseases

As the fear of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, there are increasing numbers of confirmed patients in Korea. In addition to this year's coronavirus, we've been plagued by the myriad of "new viruses" over the years. Surprisingly, many scientists and experts say the spread of the new virus is linked to climate change.

Epidemiology, barrier prevention, and public health experts believe that climate change can cause extreme weather events such as wildfires, droughts, and floods, and to allow wildlife that has lost its habitat to move to inhabited areas or pastures. Plus, they say that people are more likely to be infected with the virus.

According to the Veterinary Journal, epidemics of the past 80 years are a common infectious disease, with about 70% being caused by wild animals. For example, the AIDS virus that prevailed in the '80s was caused by apes, avian influenza in 2004-2007, and swine flu in 2009. In addition, SARS, which has terrorized the world, and the recent epidemic Ebola virus, have moved away from bats.

In the past, when a new epidemic occurred, it was considered a simple one-time event. However, people are now recklessly destroying the environment, disrupting the order of existing ecosystems, blurring the distinction between human and animal living environments, and frequent contact with wildlife increases the likelihood that people will be infected with the new strain of virus.

The Lancet, the world's leading medical journal, says today's children will face a serious survival crisis due to climate change. If we do not change the existing way of releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases, the next generation will have to live in an environment where the global temperature is four degrees higher than before industrialization. You may suffer from serious food shortages, drinking water safety, air pollution, etc. Also, extreme weather, typhoons and illnesses can increase your cost of living and cause mental damage.

In order to respond to the new corona virus, people from all walks of life must work together. It is also important to address current problems such as thorough protection and personal hygiene, but it is necessary to come up with countermeasures against viruses in the long run. To this end, we must be concerned about climate change and the damage that humans can cause, and at individual, corporate, and government levels. We must quickly reduce fossil fuel use and carbon emissions and limit the global temperature rise by 1.5 degrees to prevent widespread disasters, including the spread of infectious diseases.

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