“Not all branches of science can foreshadow the future, but many can, and with amazing precision. If you want to know when the next eclipse of the Sun will be, you can ask magicians or mystics, but you will do much better with the scientists ”:
This phrase by Carl Sagan encompasses the capacity of scientific knowledge to anticipate – not to predict – events that would otherwise be impossible to know.
Since detect the first movements of an earthquake to alert nearby towns and offer valuable seconds to get to safety, until calculate the ecological disaster caused by the increase in the planet’s temperature due to human activity year after year: the systematic observation of different phenomena and their study have given us the opportunity to foresee future events and interpret signals that allow us to overcome the next obstacles that humanity and its environment face.
Photo: CDC / Pexels
Also read: How do you get immunity to coronavirus after getting sick?
And although we cannot know with certainty when the next earthquake will be, what virus will star in the next pandemic or how a cancer will advance from its manifestation, science provides some signs that can help us to know more about the following event that puts in check the life of a person or of a large part of the human species.
The coming pandemic
In February 2014, Muy Interesante published a report titled “The coming pandemic”, cover of the number in question.
In the article signed by Gerardo Sifuentes, the author offered an informative text on outbreaks of unknown diseases, their relationship with animal species and how they could affect an increasingly interconnected global population and with fragile health systems:
“The latest pandemics and infectious outbreaks have shown the vulnerability of the world’s health systems and the inability to predict or prevent these events. Maybe a change in mindset could be significant. “
After explaining about the outbreaks that allowed the transmission of viruses such as Marburg, HIV or Ebola, the article gave special importance to zoonosis, diseases that can jump from animal species to humans.
It may interest you: The sixth animal mass extinction is approaching, scientists warn
The author warned of the increasingly close contact with wild species through illegal trade, agricultural activity and the destruction of their habitats, highlighting one fact: 60% of infectious diseases are zoonotic and 75% of emerging diseases arose in animals .
Coronaviruses, a latent threat
In 2014, the context in which the article was written kept fresh the memory of outbreaks caused by different types of coronaviruses known until then: he MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome) which was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and the SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and the SARS-CoV (causing severe acute respiratory syndrome), which impacted Asia in late 2002:
“Coronaviruses are common worldwide. Although a few only cause minor respiratory diseases, others cause liver and neurological diseases, some severe cases being found in animals, ”he says.
Also read: When does a person stop being infectious due to coronavirus?
Of course, back then it was impossible to know of the existence of SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease, so a wrong reading –Based on magical thinking or conspiracy theories– could lead to such unfortunate conclusions, such as ensuring that this text was foreboding or alerted to the pandemic that affects everyone today or worse still: to believe that this virus already existed previously .
Finally, the article closes by making an appeal to conscience, with special emphasis on those who maintain close contact with animal species to prevent transmission of new viruses to our species:
“More than taking containment measures, fostering a culture of prevention and becoming aware of our bad habits and monitoring those of those who have contact with animals is an important factor in being prepared. The only thing in which there is full certainty is that the preparation, civil education and the correct training of health professionals will be able to avoid a catastrophe ”.
Read the full “Pandemic to Come” here.