Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


John Van Buren


COVID-19 has been a rude wake-up call as it showed us how unprepared we are to fight off infectious diseases. This paper analyzes our political, social, and economic decisions to develop a plan against the future development of infectious diseases. Before the analysis, it is essential to understand that it is natural for infectious diseases to develop and spread; however, climate change has and will continue to exacerbate the number of diseases developed and spread. Chapter 1 provides data on how climate change has destroyed habitats and displaced millions of animals, forcing them to live under cramped conditions that have the potential to produce and spread new infectious diseases. Chapter 2 starts with the economic and social consequences of infectious diseases by drawing examples from COVID-19 and other diseases. In the presence of a threatening disease, there is a shift in the way we make decisions on a structural and individual level. However, some people are limited in the choices they can make. Chapter 3 dives deeper into the environmental injustice and the structural inequalities that affect marginalized people and place them at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts. Rich people have better medical facilities and get faster access to preventative measures, whereas poor people of color lack access to health care and often have received low-quality treatment. Chapter 4 focuses on how prepared the United States was in terms of policies and public health for COVID-19: what policies were set before, what new policies are being enforced, and how the public reacts. Wrapping up the paper, Chapter 5 explores what the United States should have done by analyzing what worked for them and other countries.