When President Donald Trump announced last week that he was pulling the US out of the Paris climate accord, Yale epidemiology researcher Katharine Walter felt gutted. “[Global warming] is already happening,” she said, “and the effects are already here.”
Walter studies Lyme disease, the tick-borne illness that’s spreading frighteningly quickly in the Eastern and Midwestern US, due in part to climate change. Lyme cases have more than doubled since the 1990s, and the number of counties that are now deemed high-risk for Lyme has increased by more than 320 percent in the same period. 2017 is also shaping up to be a particularly bad year for Lyme.
“These effects of climate change will be felt globally, but also here in the US,” Walter said, “and here in New York, in Trump’s backyard.”
New York state is an epicenter for Lyme. More than 90 percent of cases in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and mid-Atlantic. And it’s why New York Sen. Chuck Schumer has been calling on the federal government to more aggressively tackle Lyme.