THE health establishment was looking away when the coronavirus struck; it had other priorities. If you look at the World Health Organisation’s list of health threats, number one is climate change. Pandemics were down in third place, behind ‘non-communicable diseases’ such as diabetes and obesity.
Wherever you look, you will find some of the biggest names in the public health establishment declaiming on the risks of climate change to world health. On the eve of the outbreak, the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene declared that we would be seeing ‘mass migration, emerging infectious diseases such as dengue and a shortage of food’. As the first people fell ill in Wuhan, the WHO announced that in ten years we would be seeing 250,000 additional deaths per year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress as a result of global warming. Epidemiologist Professor Andy Haines told readers of the Telegraph that ‘climate change is a threat to global and national security that is costing lives and livelihoods right now’.