The COVID-19 pandemic won't be our last, says biological anthropologist Sabrina Sholts of the National Museum of Natural History, because what makes us vulnerable to pandemics also makes us human. Her new book, The Human Disease: How We Create Pandemics, from Our Bodies to Our Beliefs, travels through history and around the globe to examine how and why such pandemics and many other infectious disease events are an inescapable threat of our own making.
Drawing on disciplines from medicine, epidemiology, and microbiology to anthropology, sociology, ecology, and neuroscience as well as her own expertise in public education about pandemic risks, Sholts discusses the human traits and tendencies that double as pandemic liabilities, from the anatomy that defines us to the misperceptions that divide us.
Sholts explains how humanity will continue to face new pandemics because humans cause them, by the ways that we are and the things that we do. By recognizing our risks, she suggests, we can take actions to reduce them. She holds that when the next pandemic happens, and how bad it becomes, are largely within our highly capable human hands—and will be determined by what we do with our extraordinary human brains.
Copies of The Human Disease (The MIT Press) are available for purchase.
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