Something missing in a lot of viral ecology / "stop pandemics at the source" work right now:

If you're not including flu in your schema for pandemic risk, you're not actually talking about pandemics. You're talking about general disease emergence, not pandemic preparedness.
Before COVID-19, the answer to the question "what's the next pandemic most likely to be" was influenza. After COVID-19? It's actually still influenza believe it or not
So much of how we respond when a new virus emerges in a new pathway is to try to hyperfocus on sealing that entryway. But it's a bit like only locking the specific window a burglar came into your house through, and not checking the front door.
So the next time someone tells you "all we need to do to stop pandemics is treat the planet better," ask them what their plan is to deal with the 26 billion chickens on that planet

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More from @wormmaps

22 Feb
Half a million dead. It speaks to the complete and total failure of the American healthcare system. If you come out of this pandemic with the audacity to see pandemics as part of your expertise, and that's not at the front of your list of failures, you're doing your job wrong
There is no talking about pandemics without talking about the moral bankruptcy and structural rotten fucking wood that is a for-profit, privatized, fragmented, discriminatory healthcare system. There is literally nothing but this to talk about anymore
I've spent my entire life working on climate, I've ground myself into a pulp for the last 3 years working on climate + health, and if I had to choose between a global conversation about climate-and-pandemics and a conversation about U.S. healthcare, I'd pick the latter
Read 5 tweets
29 Jan
A quick thread on the McNeil thing.
A few years back, McNeil wrote a book called Zika: the Emerging Epidemic, which I read and reviewed for Quarterly Review of Biology in April 2018.

I was absolutely shocked with how he talked about race, and about women - both in the abstract, and in his specific interactions.
A couple spicy tweets got some conversation going in my Twitter circles, but that was it. Since then, whenever folks talk about his various odd takes, I've always thrown this example out - and folks are often surprised to see it. (I don't think the book was widely read 🙃)
Read 12 tweets
27 Jan
A new bat virus with 92.6% identity to SARS-CoV-2 has been published, which of course means it's time for another 🧬@viralemergence βCoV Watch 🦇
Our ensemble doesn't predict Rhinolophus shameli but our two best models - Trait-1 and Network-1 - both do, bringing their hit rate up to 22/24 and 15/15 respectively. (Network-1 still undefeated!) Updates will follow shortly on
As the authors point out, SARS-like viruses are still fairly understudied deeper in southeast Asia, but our model predicts that should be a hotspot of undiscovered bat βCoVs....

Read 6 tweets
17 Nov 20
So post-workshop, the World Meteorological Organization's Task Team on COVID-19 and Climatic, Meteorological, and Environmental Factors has published some guidance on how to do the science. It's nice, but missing the words "talk to an epidemiologist"…
It's tough. I appreciate what they've done here, and they very clearly nod to our piece on how climate-but-not-epidemiology experts got things wrong. But I also still think, 10 months in, the magic words are "talk to an epidemiologist about your understanding of the system."
This is particularly salient given that they actively encourage scientists to do public facing communication that "...includes informing media outlets or policy makers of dissenting views and encouraging the presence of multiple voices in coverage of their work."
Read 5 tweets
8 Nov 20
I think it's easy to assume more of this is riding on "access and cooperation" between China and the WHO / other countries than history would suggest is actually true (thread)
Take SARS-CoV as a counterfactual, where tracing back to wildlife trade was efficient and transparent. Civets are linked to SARS-CoV before the outbreak ends, and horseshoe bats are implicated as the reservoirs of SARS-like viruses by 2005. Access and cooperation at work! But...
The actual reservoir species isn't fully tracked down and published until 2017. That has less to do with early outbreak transparency, and more to do with the arduous nature of tracing viral origins in the wild:…
Read 7 tweets
5 Jun 20
This week I wrapped up COVID-19 related policy work. Just to quickly pin it, here's a reference thread of my writing about various pandemic topics.
Epidemic forecasts are important, but often fail to translate to on-the-ground decision making. We list a handful of high-priority questions, from basic epidemiology to healthcare data science, that policymakers have been asking us to help them answer.…
The wildlife trade is implicated in a tiny fraction of emerging disease outbreaks worldwide (and has no concrete link to SARS-CoV-2). Centering wildlife trade regulation as "pandemic preparedness" undermines the work of global health experts.…
Read 11 tweets

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