The next pandemic is coming – and sooner than we think, thanks to changes to the environment

The next pandemic is coming – and sooner than we think, thanks to changes to the environment

As a researcher who studies communicable diseases, Simon Reid has plenty to ponder right now.  Speaking over the phone from Queensland, with the sound of birds squawking in the background, Dr Reid says the first half of 2020 has been surreal.

A virus leaped out of the contagion models he has studied for years and into everyday life in the form of a global pandemic.  He is also frustrated that the work of his colleagues has mostly been ignored — for years, communicable disease experts have been warning of exactly this scenario. “There’s definitely a sense that ‘you were warned’ and we had a couple of dry runs of this,” Dr Reid, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, says…


On top of everything, hurricane season is here and most Americans don’t have flood insurance


Other surveys show that 80 percent of Texas homeowners, 60 percent of Florida homeowners, and 99 percent of Puerto Rico homeowners don’t have flood insurance. Image credit: Malte Mueller / Getty Images

Monday was the official first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, though the season unofficially began early for the sixth straight year when the first named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Arthur, brushed up against North Carolina’s Outer Banks in mid-May. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts an above-normal season ahead — between 13 and 19 named storms.

If some of those storms make landfall, they’ll bring flooding with them. Americans could be in for a very wet few months, following spring floods that toppled a dam in Michigan, forcing the evacuation of 11,000 people, and brought half a foot of rain to western North Carolina in the span of 24 hours. A new survey commissioned by National Flood Services, a flood insurance administration company, shows homeowners are ill-equipped to handle that flooding, even though a majority consider themselves ready…


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