“It is not going to be a new year if we continue with our foolish ways of managing the planet.”

That is according to the Director-General of Indian-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Sunita Narain says that zoonotic diseases are on the rise because of humans’ dystopian relationship with nature, and that can only be fixed if food systems are reworked.

“But we are looking for quick fixes.” She says.

Unless all are vaccinated, Narain believes the world population will remain vulnerable adding that can be achieved if public healthcare systems are accessible, available and staffed to meet the needs of all.

“This then is where the focus needs to be, even as we ride over to the next variant.”

As 2022 now threatens with Omicron, which is highly mutated and infectious and break through the immunity barriers, she wants the world to provide “booster” shots to the already vaccinated so that Omicron becomes less dangerous.

“We do not know how bad it will be; we only know that this variant including what we have acquired from vaccines.”

Narain also laments over the worst impacts of the virus on children describing them as a generation that will be scarred by this virus, irrespective of its intrinsic resilience and social background.

Narain also calls for more attention to be paid to avian influenza virus hitting birds and poultry, African swine influenza hitting pig populations across the world; and nipah (from bats) and zika (from mosquitoes) viral infections.

“Could any of these or other zoonotic viruses become as deadly or deadlier than the novel coronavirus disease — COVID-19? We do not know. Despite all these uncertainties, we refuse to recognise that we are not at peace with nature.”



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