Photo: Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

Scientists say accelerating deforestation could lead to increased human contact with pandemic diseases, and could also worsen the current coronavirus pandemic, NPR reports.

What's happening: Money and resources for monitoring tropical forests in Southeast Asia, Africa and South America have been transferred to help fight the pandemic, turning a blind eye toward illegal deforestation activities like logging and mining.

  • “There are several pathogens that once you have a deforestation event then you get spillover and you don’t know whether that’s because we’re losing biodiversity that otherwise would kind of help dilute that pathogen, or if it's humans coming into the area and increasing their risky behaviors," Christina Faust, postdoctoral scholar Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Penn State University, told NPR.

The bottom line: Researchers believe 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. Eliminating ecosystems means emerging pathogens have fewer and fewer non-humans to infect.

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15 mins ago - Health

Top business leaders urge White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines

A man walks past a Ramen restaurant in Los Angeles, California on July 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, National Retail Federation and other top business organizations wrote an open letter on Thursday urging the White House coronavirus task force to work with governors to make face coverings mandatory in all public spaces.

Driving the news: An analysis led by Goldman Sachs' chief economist found that a national mandate requiring face coverings would "could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP," the Washington Post reports.

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 10,763,604 — Total deaths: 517,667 — Total recoveries — 5,522,094Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 p.m. ET: 2,715,124 — Total deaths: 128,439 — Total recoveries: 729,994 — Total tested: 32,827,359Map.
  3. Public health: What we know about the immune response to coronavirus and what it means for a vaccine.
  4. Politics: Herman Cain hospitalized for COVID-19 after attending Trump Tulsa rally — Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis.
  5. States: Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases — 5 states saw 27% spike in heart-related deaths in first 3 months of coronavirus pandemic.

The other immune responders to COVID-19

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Scientists are inching closer to understanding how antibodies and immune cells are unleashed by the body in response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Natural immunity differs from that afforded by vaccination but it offers clues for the design of effective vaccines and therapies.