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COVID-19 and Climate Change

From the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has begun to spread globally and cause global mass infections. As of now, the number of people infected with the coronavirus worldwide has exceeded 30 million, and the total death toll has exceeded 900,000. However, with such a huge number, the virus still cannot be controlled. Human beings are still facing threats. At the 2020 UN General Assembly, UN Secretary-General Guterres pointed out that the world today faces several major challenges, such as the global pandemic and climate change. In 2019 and 2020, global climate disasters happened frequently. For example, at the end of 2019, the wildfires in Australia lasted for about 3 months and released 900 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which has exacerbated global warming. According to a report from the World Meteorological Organization, greenhouse gas concentrations have continued to rise, and the past five years have been the hottest on record. COVID-19 and climate change are global crises, and COVID-19 will be controlled by the development of vaccines, but climate change will always be a long-term problem. Even though there is no direct evidence that climate change is directly related to COVID-19, climate change and environmental pollution also cause a greater risk of virus transmission.

COVID-19 first broke out in Wuhan, Hubei Province China in December 2019, and then the world fell into a large-scale population infection. In order to prevent a massive population from contracting the virus,  China implemented measures to lock down each city mandating that people stay at home. Factories closed, and vehicles on streets or highways gradually decreased. In February and March, the epidemic spread to the rest of the world and everyone had to suspend their lives. According to reports, due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on tourism and industry, environmental pollution in many areas has been reduced. For example, compared to the same period in 2019, China reduced its carbon emissions by about 200 million metric tons during the period of lockdown; the water quality improved during the lockdown period in Venice, Italy, also the fish biomass in the territorial waters of Europe doubled. However, it was a short period that gave  the Earth a chance to ‘breathe.’ Since the coronavirus caused a recession in the global economy many countries are expected to speed up and increase industrial production,  which stimulates the economy to make up for the loss of the economic recession during the COVID-19 isolation period. As a result, these actions have brought about more greenhouse gas and pollution emissions. Some scientists worry that local warming caused by climate change may release more viruses carried by mosquitoes and cause more epidemics.

According to Harvard University research, climate change is more conducive to the spread of certain infectious diseases. For example, Lyme disease, water-borne diseases, and other viruses. Also, people living in places with poor air quality are more likely to die from COVID-19 because of their fragile respiratory tract. Therefore, the world is not only threatened by COVID-19 but also by the danger of climate change. In my opinion, COVID-19is a product of climate change that is more complementary to each other. Although deforestation is not the direct cause of COVID-19, it is indeed the root cause of climate change. As I often hear people say the emergence of the coronavirus is warning humans of their disrespect for nature. In the current situation of globalization, no country can wall itself off from the consequences of a global crisis. Countries need to work together to formulate strategies. The world should unite to help the Earth and to help itself.

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