— A team of researchers says it’s a bit late for the industry to be getting back to the drawing board.
It’s been a long time coming.
Since the 1970s, when the first strains of the coronavirus were detected in California, soy farmers have been grappling with the threat of cancer.
And the recent pandemic has been no exception.
Scientists at the University of California-Davis, which has been studying the impact of the pandemic on soy production in the state, say they’ve found that the rate of new coronaviruses has gone down significantly in California.
The state’s health department said Thursday that the number of new infections is down 23 percent in the last four weeks.
But the scientists say they’re not sure why.
In a paper published Thursday in the journal Nature, they suggest that while the coronatavirus has reduced the number and severity of infections, other environmental factors — including increased farming practices, drought and warmer weather — may be playing a role.
The scientists say the state could be facing a second wave of coronavirence, as the virus moves further south, which may be linked to the hotter weather.
“The most important thing we have to understand is that this pandemic is not about the virus itself,” said Dr. Andrew Kim, a professor of microbiology and immunology at UC-Davis and lead author of the paper.
“It’s about the environmental and social conditions that are affecting the virus and the impact that these environmental factors have on the human population and the environment.”
Kim and his colleagues focused on the state’s dairy and meat industries.
In the dairy industry, for instance, the scientists found that coronaviral infections have dropped dramatically in recent months.
But Kim said the findings don’t mean the pandemics threat is over.
“We’re still dealing with some other environmental variables,” Kim said.
“This pandemic hasn’t fully cleared the air in the dairy world.”
The researchers also found that some of the new coronvirus strains circulating in the U.S. may be affecting dairy production.
They say that while this could explain some of their drop in cases, they suspect the strain circulating in California could be causing the problems.
The researchers said they have not yet looked at the role that the California drought may have played in the spread of the viruses.
But they note that they haven’t found any recent coronavirots in California that aren’t linked to other environmental stresses.
“California has seen a decline in the number, severity and duration of coronatavectases over the past decade,” the researchers wrote.
“The state’s response to this pandemic has been to reduce exposure to both agricultural and nonagricultural aerosols of COVID-19, to encourage farmers to use less water, and to increase use of insecticides.”
Kim said the results of the study are promising.
“We’re not looking at it in isolation.
This study shows the correlation between a reduction in exposure and a reduction of new infection,” he said.”
This is very exciting news for us because we are in a period of extreme stress in California,” Kim added.
“There’s no question that if the virus were to return, we could potentially be facing the possibility of some of these conditions again.”
Kim stressed that the research is preliminary, and that the results will need to be replicated with additional data.
He said he has no hard numbers on the number or severity of cases.
“I would caution that these findings are preliminary and they will need more data to validate them,” he added.
But Kim said he’s optimistic about the potential of reducing the spread.
“I’m just hoping that this can be a catalyst for others to try to understand what this means and what it means for our business.”