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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.

Go deeper

Oct 1, 2020 - Health

New poll shows alarming coronavirus vaccine skepticism

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

 Lack of trust in a potential coronavirus vaccine is becoming a truly major problem, according to a new Stat/Harris Poll survey shared with Axios.

By the numbers: 79% of respondents said they would worry about a vaccine's safety if it's approved quickly, and 75% said they worry about politics — rather than science — driving the process.

Stocks slide after Trump tests positive for coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday morning, following news early on Friday that President Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

By the numbers: The S&P 500 fell 1%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 400 points (or 1.6%), while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.5%. The declines

Oct 1, 2020 - Health

Pfizer CEO: COVID-19 vaccine development is "moving at the speed of science"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourl speaking in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told employees in a letter Thursday that he is disappointed his company's coronavirus vaccine was politicized during this week’s presidential debate, adding that campaign rhetoric about the outbreak and vaccine development is “undercutting public confidence," according to AP and CNBC.

Why it matters: President Trump accused pharmaceutical companies of slowing their COVID-19 vaccine development to hurt him politically at Tuesday's debate, claiming the U.S. is "weeks away from a vaccine," per Stat News.