‘Next pandemic just around the corner’ as expert warns ‘sacrifices’ needed to avoid chaos

A health expert has given a stark warning that a new pandemic could be ‘just around the corner’ and we may need to make ‘sacrifices’ again.

Dr Nathalie MacDermott, a lecturer in infectious diseases at King’s College London, shared her fears of an impending new pandemic that could plunge the world into a new lockdown.

She said: “I know that COVID was very hard for people and we want to believe we can just go back to normal and I understand that entirely.

“But the next pandemic is around the corner – it might be two years, it could be 20 years, it could be longer – but we can’t afford to let our guards down.”

Dr MacDermott insisted the best way to prepare for a potential new pandemic is to “stay vigilant” – and be prepared to take drastic measures if necessary.

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She told Sky News: “We need to stay vigilant, prepared and ready to make sacrifices again.”

The infectious disease expert argued that the looming climate crisis could play a part in the next pandemic.

She noted growing temperatures could contribute to turning countries that previously enjoyed moderate weather conditions into the perfect breeding ground for a new infection.

Dr MacDermott made the example of exotic mosquitos, suggesting the warmer climate could attract the animals to nations like the UK and result in the increased risk of animal-to-human virus transmission.

She added: “As temperatures increase around the world, even the UK will become an area where it’s possible for those types of mosquitoes to live.”

The scholar’s warning comes as Europe experienced a rise in mosquito and tick-borne viruses in recent months.

Cases of dengue, chikungunya, and Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) have been reported across the continent in recent months.

The Italian town of Busto Arsizio, less than an hour away from Italy’s economic hub of Milan, underwent a three-day disinfestation process after a suspected case of dengue.

Residents have been urge to keep their windows locked and keep their pets indoors as the local authorities moved in to eliminate mosquitos to avoid further cases.

MacDermott appeared to echo Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, who earlier this month warned the public needs to prepare for another pandemic.

Sir John insisted it is inconceivable to believe another “big event” like the coronavirus crisis won’t happen.

Asked whether he expects another pandemic to happen, the expert said: “I would bet the house on it. It’s definitely going to happen.

“We should just get used to that. The real question is: What is the likelihood of that happening in the short term? It would definitely happen in the medium or long term for sure.”

He added: “As you know there are many things pushing humans together with a wide range of different species.

“We’re doing a lot of things that are high risk. Climate change is not going to help with that – insects are moving all over – so some of the better estimates suggest that there’s a 20 or 30 percent chance of having another pandemic in the next 15 or 20 years.

“That’s a big number. Now whether it’s a profound pandemic or one that’s not so bad, I think we have to wait and see. But it seems inconceivable to me that we won’t have a big event.”

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