RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)– “Let me tell you, it’s going to happen again, this is not something we can dismiss.”
That is the warning from conservation ecologist Stuart Pimm who has spent his life studying the evolution of animal borne diseases like COVID-19.
The breathtaking speed in which vaccines are being developed to fight COVID-19 has never been seen before.
Pimm says the world’s behavior is what has been essential in slowing down the spread of other diseases.
“People have learned not to to get infected. They’ve learned to avoid behaviors that are dangerous, they’ve learned to avoid doing things that bring them in contact with the diseases” said Pimm.
For example, HIV — 30 million people have died, but millions more would have without a change in behavior.
Pimm says it’s been different this time.
“A large number of Americans who have died this year have died because of other people were just totally irresponsible, didn’t wear masks, engaged in reckless behavior when they were carrying the disease. That’s not acceptable in a civilized society.”
Pimm reminds us that we make choices everyday to keep other people safe.
“I mean that’s like saying I can drive my car down the highway in a 30 mile per hour zone because I have the freedom to do just what the *** I like.”
The anxiety or total dismissal of being vaccinated for COVID-19, Pimm said, follows the same argument.
“There is a tiny tiny risk but good gracious me the risk of dying from COVID-19, particularly if you’re my age, is very, very high indeed if you’re not vaccinated.”