If it is possible to learn from history, the world may be fortunate that the stability of Chinese civilization for several thousand years left behind a well-documented historical record.
In 2017, Scientific American reported, “Records from Ancient China reveal link between Epidemics and Climate Change. By analyzing Chinese records throughout nearly 2,000 years of history, researchers have found that climate-driven disturbances like floods, droughts and locust outbreaks were associated with disease epidemics. …
“The new research underscores the idea that climatic changes may affect human health in a variety of ways. Present-day concerns about climate change and infection often focus on the potential of higher temperatures to facilitate the spread of disease vectors, like mosquitoes.”
Contagion Live reports on The Ripple Effect of Climate Change on Epidemic Risk. “Increases in extreme weather events, as predicted by climate scientists, may also lead to increases in infectious disease outbreaks. Epidemics have previously been seen in the wake of natural disasters, which can lead to displaced and crowded populations, hotbeds for infection transmission. Severe rainfall or flooding is particularly effective at creating environments suitable for the transmission and propagation of infectious diseases such as measles or cholera. Conditions, as currently seen on the devastated island of Puerto Rico, are often more amenable for mosquitoes to breed in flood-affected regions and as a result, may increase disease risk in those areas.”
What did China learn over the centuries?
The Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity reports, “Since ancient times, China has acquired a rich experience in both the prevention and cure of infectious diseases. As early as in the Warring States period (475 BC – 221 BC), China began to develop theories on epidemic diseases. In the Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC), an integrated response system, including prevention, diagnosis, and isolation, was established.
“Later, during the Han Dynasty (206BC – 220 AD), people began to pay attention to the control of infection sources. Whereas, vaccination methods were created in the Song Dynasty (960 – 1270 AD, composed by the Northern Song Dynasty and Southern Song Dynasty), they were popularized throughout the Ming (1368 – 1644 AD) and Qing (1644 – 1912) Dynasties.
“However, at that time, China had not established a biosafety prevention system based on modern microbiological studies on infectious diseases, lacking a comprehensive scientific understanding of them. It was in the middle and late Qing Dynasty, with the arrival of missionaries and the return of overseas students, that advanced western science and technology were introduced into China, allowing the implementation of scientific infectious disease prevention and control measures and giving rise to modern biosafety means.”
For modern civilization to survive, the world’s leaders must cooperate, and that includes the United States. However, current President Donald Trump is always looking for someone else to blame. For sure, Donald Trump is not a role model for how to survive a pandemic. That is not how to survive climate change and the epidemics to come. COVID-19 might be just the beginning. Are you ready?
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.