In a report co-authored by Dr. Anthony Fauci and David M. Morens of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, they write that the world is now in a "pandemic era" and suggest that the only solution is to live "in greater harmony with nature."
The remarks are part of a 16-page report in Cell that was published in August titled, "Emerging Pandemic Diseases: How We Got to COVID-19."
"COVID-19, recognized in late 2019, is but the latest example of an unexpected, novel, and devastating pandemic disease," they write. "One can conclude from this recent experience that we have entered a pandemic era. The causes of this new and dangerous situation are multifaceted, complex, and deserving of serious examination."
The report goes on to examine various pandemic diseases and the variety of factors that led to them, eventually getting to a conclusion that many of these "disease emergencies reflect our increasing inability to live in harmony with nature," pointing out that a number of pandemics have been exacerbated by "urbanization and crowding."
"Living in greater harmony with nature will require changes in human behavior as well as other radical changes that may take decades to achieve: rebuilding the infrastructures of human existence, from cities to homes to workplaces, to water and sewer systems, to recreational and gatherings venues," Fauci and Morens write. "In such a transformation we will need to prioritize changes in those human behaviors that constitute risks for the emergence of infectious diseases.
"Chief among them are reducing crowding at home, work, and in public places as well as minimizing environmental perturbations such as deforestation, intense urbanization, and intensive animal farming," they continue.
Acknowledging that diseases spread much more easily in a world that is more interconnected than ever, Fauci and Morens conclude that humans must think through how to avoid activities and developments that may lead to the emergence or spread of new diseases.
"COVID-19 is among the most vivid wake-up calls in over a century," they write. "It should force us to begin to think in earnest and collectively about living in more thoughtful and creative harmony with nature, even as we plan for nature's inevitable, and always unexpected, surprises."
The World Economic Forum recently published an article titled, "5 things COVID-19 has taught us about fighting climate change." The first takeaway was that "the planet will not wait."
"We need to set bold and ambitious targets to drive change the planet needs," writes the author, Salesforce Executive Vice President for Corporate Relations Suzanne DiBlanca. "Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, we have an opportunity to combine a safe recovery with a sustainable recover. The EU has led the way by proposing a green recovery plan, which will use digitalization to boost jobs and growth, secure the resilience of societies, and put the health of our environment first."