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Global Warming: The Coronavirus and the Reduction of Global Carbon Emissions

Have you wondered whether any good can come from the global coronavirus, COVID-19? Will there be a long-term decline in global warming statistics caused by the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions?

The disastrous consequences of COVID-19

At a glance, there are many more disadvantages than advantages. The global economy is battling to hold up under the strain of the rapid spread of the virus. Mainland China has closed off her airports and harbors, and as most of the world’s manufactured products come from China, these closures are causing havoc in the rest of the world.

Eric Morath of the Wall Street Journal notes that “financial markets and economic forecasters are warning of rising risks for the U.S and global economy, which we’re improving before the novel coronavirus spread from China around the world.”

Current infection rates stand at 102 469 cases across the globe, with more than sixty-four countries reporting at least one case. And, most of the infections, 80 651 cases, are in mainland China. As Alan Whiteside notes, in his seminal piece titled, “Covid-19 (the SARS-CoV-2) and you,” there are “puzzling blank spots on the map, notably most of Africa and Latin America and China outside Hubei.”

Consequently, the question that scientists and researchers are asking is: Why are the COVID-19 infection numbers extremely low or non-existent in these areas? There are currently no answers to this question. Researchers simply do not know.

The trajectory in global infection rates is difficult to predict because there are too many unknowns in how the virus spreads, mutates, and whether it is seasonal or not. Thus, the researchers who use mathematical algorithms to develop predictive models determining how bad the outbreak will be, are reporting vastly different outcomes based on the various mathematical equations used as a basis for a particular model. In this case, the number of predicted cases range from at least 500 000 cases to a maximum of 4.4 million cases. 

As an aside, researchers know that the virus spreads through touch. This typically occurs when a person touches a surface that has been contaminated by an infected person and touches their face, especially their mouth, eyes, or nose. It is also transferred via infected droplets that are sprayed everywhere by an infected person coughing or sneezing.

Finally, the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) needs to be considered to put the disease into perspective. The seasonal flu CFR rates in the USA is usually less than 0.1%. In other words, there is one fatality for every 1000 infections. The original CFR rate in China was originally thought to be 2.3%.

However, it has also been reported by the Worldometers.info website that a number of COVID-19 cases double every 7.4 days. Thus, the global CFR rate has dropped from 2.3% to 2.2%. And, more than 50% of those infected have recovered.

The possible benefit of COVID-19

As an aside, it must be noted that the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak is devastating for many people across the globe, especially for those stranded in geolocations cordoned off by the authorities to prevent the spread of the virus.

And, even though the global health and economic negatives far outweigh any possible benefit to the pandemic, there is one potential advantage to the worldwide reduction of the manufacturing and transport sectors.

The CarbonBrief.org website reported on 19 February 2020, with updated information on 4 March 2020, that China’s CO2 emissions had reduced by 25%. This is because electricity demand and industrial output are still far below their usual levels. Statistically speaking, the effects of the attempt to contain the coronavirus have resulted in a 15% to 40% reduction in production across China.

Final thoughts

Preneshni R. Naicker, in her journal article titled, “The impact of climate change and other factors on zoonotic diseases,” notes that “geoclimatic change most markedly affects zoonotic diseases transmitted by arthropod vectors.”

She also highlights the fact that circa 60% of all new human pathogens are zoonoses. In other words, almost two-thirds of all new viruses contracted by humans are transferred from animals. And, there is a complicated relationship between the human-animal interface, which is continuously influenced by the effects of climate change.

Therefore, based on this scientific research, it is possible to conclude that the earth, or environment, allows, even encourages, the development of zoonoses like the latest coronavirus to protect itself from the ongoing destruction as a consequence of climate change and global warming.

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Leigh Van Der Veen

Leigh is a native English speaker and a skilled technical and content writer with a passion for the English language. She has completed English language and literature studies at a tertiary level which allows her to deliver well-researched, expertly crafted, authoritative, quality content.

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