AGM Speaker

21 April 2021

Professor Diane Newell

"Covid-19 Is Not A Black Swan But A Predictable Outcome Of Human Activities"

The Covid-19 pandemic, which emerged in late 2019, is just the latest of numerous zoonotic epidemics that have challenged humans over thousands of years. Covid-19 is not a “Black Swan” (Black Swans in statistical terms are events which are unpredictable and random). Such epidemics were predicted by many scientists, including myself, throughout the last 30 years as awareness of the drivers of zoonotic diseases increased, particularly the impact of anthropogenic global environmental change.

In this talk I will present evidence for microbial causes, frequency, predictability and cost of zoonotic epidemics and discuss the drivers that contribute to them. In addition I will suggest some of the global approaches that will be needed in the future to prevent the emergence of further crises like Covid-19.