[ti:Scientists Warn of More Deadly Pandemics if Nature Not Protected]
[00:00.04]Scientific experts have warned that deadly pandemics
[00:05.20]are likely to keep happening if action is not taken
[00:10.76]to protect natural environments.
[00:15.60]Future pandemics will happen more often, spread faster
[00:21.60]and kill more people than COVID-19, the experts said.
[00:28.44]Such events are also expected
[00:32.12]to cause lasting harm to the world economy.
[00:37.20]The warning came in a report from the Intergovernmental
[00:42.84]Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services,
[00:50.56]an international expert group that advises governments.
[00:56.08]The group has more than 130 member states.
[01:02.16]The experts called for major efforts aimed at preventing pandemics
[01:09.88]rather than trying to contain them after they happen.
[01:14.44]The report urges major worldwide efforts to stop habitat destruction
[01:22.16]that can lead viruses to jump from wild animals to humans.
[01:29.44]The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
[01:34.04]has estimated that three out of every four
[01:38.36]new or emerging infectious diseases
[01:41.96]in people come from animals.
[01:45.80]Scientists have said COVID-19 probably started in bats
[01:52.20]and began spreading among humans.
[01:55.52]In their report, the experts predict that about half of an estimated
[02:01.80]1.7 million undiscovered viruses in nature
[02:07.24]might be able to infect people.
[02:10.24]Activities such as poaching or clearing forests to grow soy
[02:16.96]or palm oil can bring humans and disease closer together.
[02:23.96]Deforestation, agriculture expansion, urbanization
[02:29.88]and other land-use changes are responsible
[02:34.52]for about one-third of all new diseases
[02:38.52]that have emerged since 1960, the report says.
[02:45.04]The $100 billion global wildlife trade
[02:50.20]is also responsible for the spread of new and existing diseases.
[02:57.36]The experts predict that about $50 billion a year
[03:02.84]in pandemic prevention spending could save the world
[03:08.04]about $1 trillion a year, on average, in economic damage.
[03:15.92]They said that as of July, the economic cost
[03:20.56]from COVID-19 was at least $8 trillion and rising.
[03:27.44]Peter Daszak was the report's lead writer.
[03:32.44]He is president of EcoHealth Alliance,
[03:37.20]an international health, environment and development organization.
[03:43.92]He said in a statement that even though the experts call for urgent action,
[03:50.92]"this is not a doom and gloom report
[03:54.64]saying the world's going to end and it's too late."
[03:59.08]Instead, Daszak said it should be seen as "an optimistic call for action."
[04:08.40]He noted that the current method for dealing with pandemics
[04:13.68]is to wait for them to emerge and then try to identify them before they spread.
[04:21.36]COVID-19 has demonstrated the problems with that plan.
[04:28.44]Officials attempted to contain COVID-19
[04:32.76]after the disease was discovered last year, but it was already too late.
[04:40.52]"And here we are waiting for a vaccine and drugs to work," Daszak said.
[04:48.68]"It's not a good strategy. We need to do more."
[04:54.32]I'm Bryan Lynn.