60 years from now, another pandemic similar to the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to strike, warned researchers from Duke University.
As per the team, the number of new diseases spreading to humans may rise by three times over the coming decades.
“The most important takeaway is that large pandemics like COVID-19 and the Spanish flu are relatively likely,” says study author Dr William Pan in University release.
Pan further highlighted that understanding that pandemics are not so rare should become a priority for health officials in charge of controlling them in the future.
The team used new statistical methods to measure the scale and frequency of outbreaks over the past four centuries.
This included a range of deadly pathogens including plague, smallpox, cholera, typhus, and novel influenza viruses.
Co-author Professor Gabriel Katul said that this is not to say it is a guarantee that the world will go virus-free for 59 years. As per the findings, such events are equally probable in any given year during the next few decades.
Prof. Katul said, “When a 100-year flood occurs today, one may erroneously presume that one can afford to wait another 100 years before experiencing another such event”. He further added, “This impression is false. One can get another 100-year flood the next year.”