As of today, the world is sitting with over half a million cases of the Coronavirus, and over 25,000 deaths. Since the outbreak began in November 2019, only 100,000 or so have recovered. The majority of cases are new, with nearly 300,000 still active. The virus began in Wuhan, Hubei, as a result of what many believe to be the selling and consumption of pangolins at a seafood market in the city. Now, China has banned the consumption of wildlife amid the Covid-19 outbreak, and it’s about time.
What is Covid-19?
Just in case you’ve just returned from a deserted island, let’s go over what Covid-19 actually is. It’s a respiratory illness that was likely passed from pangolins to humans at the end of last year. Symptoms include a fever, dry cough, sore throat, loss of smell and taste, and in some severe cases, pneumonia and respiratory failure. For most, the symptoms are relatively mild, but for the older, and the immune-compromised, it’s another story entirely.
Covid-19 is highly contagious, and spreads from person to person about as quickly as the common cold – except that it’s much more dangerous.
China bans the consumption of wildlife
While making xenophobic, racist comments about other cultures’ eating habits is categorically unacceptable, China’s consumption of wildlife has been a problem for a while. Regardless of personal ethics (if you eat other forms of meat you really have no right to judge), eating wildlife is problematic for another reason: illness.
While most coronaviruses stay in the animal they inhabit, sometimes they do mutate and jump to humans. This is precisely what happened with the SARS outbreak in 2002/2003, and again with MERS in 2012.
The SARS virus was vastly more contained than Covid-19, spreading to only 30 countries with 8,000 cases worldwide and only 774 deaths.
This is the real problem – occasionally, coronaviruses mutate and transfer to humans. However, we haven’t seen a widespread pandemic of this scale since the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. H1N1 infected about 1 billion people around the world, but it was decidedly less deadly than Covid-19.
Now, China has banned the hunting, trade, transportation, and consumption of all wild animals – this comes at a time where there is no going back. Despite cultural specificities, something had to be done to prevent this from happening again. The National People’s Congress Standing Committee implemented the ban, citing it as a way to “safeguard public health and ecological security.”
The ban has two main goals: to completely hinder the “trade of wildlife,” and the other to ban any practice of “the eating of wild animals.” According to the New York Times, millions of animals are trafficked each and every year. This ban will hopefully curb some of the wildlife trade in China, which will influence sentiment around the world.
So, China has officially banned the consumption of wildlife amid the Covid-19 outbreak, and it’s really about time.
China banning the consumption of WildLife is a call to action amid COVID-19 concerns
Covid-19 is already here, and it’s very much planning on sticking around. We could see a billion infections around the world, and with a +/- 2% mortality rate, that’s terrifying. While China has officially banned the consumption of wildlife amid the Covid-19 outbreak, we all need to take proactive measures to flatten the curve. Stay home, self isolate, and treat yourself as if you’re already ill. The time for extreme action is now.