The Times podcast: The next pandemic is already lurking

A man burns a pile of vegetation
A patch of land is slashed and burned near the edge of the rainforest in Maruaga, Brazil. Deforestation raises the risk of pathogen transmission from wild animals to humans.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Share via

Hopefully the COVID-19 nightmare will soon wane, but it’s unlikely to be the last pandemic of our lifetimes. Because the virus that will cause the next pandemic is probably already out there.

Animals carry hundreds of thousands of viruses that have the potential to infect humans. Buffer zones between where people live and where wild animals live lower the risk of viruses jumping from another species to our own. But now human behaviors such as deforestation and urbanization, along with climate change, are erasing those zones.


Today, L.A. Times foreign correspondent Kate Linthicum, who recently traveled to the Amazon rainforest, and national correspondent Emily Baumgaertner, who focuses on medical investigations, explain the issue. And they talk about ways to solve the problem — or at least dial down the risks.

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times foreign correspondent Kate Linthicum and national correspondent Emily Baumgaertner

More reading:

Where will the next pandemic begin? The Amazon rainforest offers troubling clues

Op-Ed: What it will take to keep the next pandemic at bay

Letters to the Editor: Want to help prevent the next pandemic? Go vegan

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, senior producers Denise Guerra, Shannon Lin and Kasia Broussalian and producers Melissa Kaplan, Ashlea Brown and Angel Carreras. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our editor is Lauren Raab. Our executive producers are Jazmín Aguilera and Shani O. Hilton. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.