American plant-based physician Dr. Michael Greger warned about the possibility of a coronavirus-like pandemic more than a decade ago.
Dr. Greger issued the warning in 2008, during a speech in Washington D.C. At the time, he was the public health director for the Humane Society of the United States.
“The two greatest threats facing humanity, according to the United Nations, are climate change and emerging infectious disease—particularly pandemic influenza,” Dr. Greger said in his speech.
He discussed the risk of zoonotic diseases coming from the pet trade, hunting, and deforestation. He also highlighted the threat that comes from animal markets and factory farms, where animals are often crowded together in unsanitary conditions.
He said: “These intensive systems represent the most profound alteration of the human-animal relationship in 10,000 years, and it’s no surprise they are breeding grounds for disease.”
The total confirmed cases of coronavirus—thought to have started in a live animal market in Wuhan, China—has surpassed 1.2 million. Nearly 70,000 people have died and more than 265,000 have recovered.
Dr. Greger recently took to Twitter to encourage people to self-isolate in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
“The most important thing we can do now to help flatten the pandemic curve is shelter-in-place, meaning stay at home if at all possible and avoid all unnecessary physical contact,” Dr. Greger tweeted.
How Not To Die In A Pandemic
Dr. Greger is an advocate for a whole-food, plant-based diet. He is best known for his best-selling book 2015 book “How Not to Die,” in which he examines how most premature deaths can be prevented with simple changes in diet and lifestyle.
The physician will host a webinar on April 8 called “How Not to Die in a Pandemic.”
During the webinar, Dr. Greger will discuss ways the public can protect themselves from the coronavirus. In addition to self-isolating, Dr. Greger says proper hand hygiene is key.
“Eating healthy may help, but more importantly than that, is hand hygiene,” the doctor said on the Elysabeth Alfano Show. “The ten most common causes of infection are at the ends of your hands,” he added.
He will also review the source of the virus and discuss how the public can best prevent animal-to-human outbreaks from occurring in the future.
Dr. Greger will host a live Q&A during the webinar. Information from the webinar will be made available on Dr. Greger’s website, NutritionFacts.org.