Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren blames global warming for assisting influenza, and warns on her campaign website (https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/combating-infectious-disease-outbreaks) that President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord may fuel the next epidemic. This is despite the fact that influenza is greatly assisted by cold temperatures and peer-reviewed studies and objective data show cold temperatures kill far more people than warm or hot temperatures.

Under a tab on her website titled, “Preventing, Containing, and Treating Infectious Disease Outbreaks at Home and Abroad,” Warren states, “Experts believe the world is due for another bout of pandemic influenza. The latest threat comes from coronavirus….” She later adds, “On the global stage, his [President Trump’s] decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement demonstrates reckless denial about the role of climate change in fueling epidemics.”

Yet the National Institutes of Health observes that influenza, “is more infectious in cold winter temperatures than during the warmer months. At winter temperatures, the virus’s outer covering, or envelope, hardens to a rubbery gel that could shield the virus as it passes from person to person, the researchers have found. At warmer temperatures, however, the protective gel melts to a liquid phase. But this liquid phase apparently isn’t tough enough to protect the virus against the elements, and so the virus loses its ability to spread from person to person.” (https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-scientists-offer-explanation-winter-flu-season)

A Harvard University medical article reports that an average of 200,000 people in the United States get sick with the flu each year and 36,000 people die. Observing that the obvious fact that the flu season occurs during cold winter months, the article notes, “the main reason we have a flu season may simply be that the influenza virus is happier in cold, dry weather and thus better able to invade our bodies.”

Ongoing modest warming has reduced the length of winter and the prevalence of the cold temperatures that assist influenza. It seems rather difficult to blame the next influenza pandemic on global warming, but climate alarmists like Elizabeth Warren sure are trying. Worse, by diverting research, attention and resources away from programs that might actually fight influenza, and instead directing them to climate change programs, Warren’s plan could well cause thousands of additional deaths each year.

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  • CFACT, founded in 1985 by Craig Rucker and the late (truly great) David Rothbard, examines the relationship between human freedom, and issues of energy, environment, climate, economics, civil rights and more.