Why new diseases keep appearing in China

Why new diseases keep appearing in China


It was New Years Eve, 2019 when health officials
in China admitted they had a problem. Health authorities have activated their most serious response level. After an outbreak of a new type of viral pneumonia in central China. A rapidly growing number of people were developing
a dry cough and fever, before getting pneumonia. And for some, it turned fatal. Doctors have named the disease COVID-19 or
“coronavirus disease, 2019” indicating that a type of virus is causing the illness. When they’d tried to trace its origin, they
found a likely source: This food market in Wuhan. Out of the first 41 patients, 27 had been
here. It wasn’t conclusive evidence, but Chinese
officials quickly shut down the market. They had seen this happen before at a place
just like this. Health officials are trying to get a grip on an alarming outbreak of SARS. The virus originated in mainland China. Then spread across the country. The disease had been festering for months in southern China. In 2002, a coronavirus had emerged at a very
similar market, in southern China. It eventually reached
29 countries and killed nearly 800 people. Now, 18 years later, this coronavirus is in
at least 71 countries and has already killed over 3100 people. So, what do these markets have to do with
the coronavirus outbreak… and why is it happening in China? A lot of the viruses that make us sick, actually
originate in animals. Some of the viruses that cause the flu come
from birds and pigs. HIV/AIDS comes from chimpanzees. The deadly Ebola virus likely originates in
bats. And in the case of the 2019 coronavirus, there
is some evidence it went from a bat to a pangolin before infecting a human. While viruses are very good at jumping between
species, it’s rare for a deadly one to make this journey all the way to humans. That’s because it would need all these hosts
to encounter each other at some point. That’s where the Wuhan market comes in. It’s a wet-market. A kind of place where live animals are slaughtered
and sold for consumption. Peter Li is a professor and expert on China’s
animal trade. That’s exactly how a virus can jump from
one animal to another. If that animal then comes in contact with
or is consumed by a human, the virus could potentially infect them. And if the virus then spreads to other humans,
it causes an outbreak. Wet-markets are scattered all over the world,
but the ones in China are particularly well known because they offer a wide variety of
animals, including wildlife. This is a sample menu, reportedly from the
market in Wuhan. These animals are from all over the world
and each one has the potential to carry its own viruses to the market. The reason all these animals are in the same
market is because of a decision China’s government made decades ago. Back in the 1970s, China was falling apart. Famine had killed more than 36 million people. And the communist regime, which controlled
all food production, was failing to feed its more than 900 million people. In 1978, on the verge of collapse, the regime
gave up this control and allowed private farming. While large companies increasingly dominated
the production of popular foods like pork and poultry, some smaller farmers turned to
catching and raising wild animals as a way to sustain themselves. And since it started to feed and sustain people, the Chinese government backed it. But then in 1988, the government made a decision
that changed the shape of wildlife trade in China. They enacted the Wildlife Protection Law which
designated the animals as “resources owned by the state” and protected people engaged
in the “utilization of wildlife resources”. The law also “encouraged the domestication
and breeding of wildlife.” With that, an industry was born. Small local farms turned into industrial-sized
operations. For example, this bear farm started with just
three, and eventually grew to more than 1,000 bears. Bigger populations meant greater chances that
a sick animal could spread disease. Farmers were also raising a wide variety of
animals. Which meant more viruses on the farms. Nonetheless, these animals were funneled into
the wet-markets for profit. While this legal wildlife farming industry
started booming, it simultaneously provided cover for an illegal wildlife industry. Endangered animals like tigers, rhinoceroses,
and pangolins, were trafficked into China. By the early 2000s, these markets were teeming
with wild animals when the inevitable happened. The latest on the deadly SARS virus, the worldwide death toll up again today. China has reported more than 1,400 cases of infection nation-wide. It is what health officials have feared all along. In 2003, the SARS outbreak was traced to a
wet-market here, in southern China. Scientists found traces of the virus in farmed
civet cats. Chinese officials quickly shut down the markets
and banned wildlife farming. But a few months after the outbreak, the Chinese
government declared 54 species of wildlife animals, including civet cats, legal to farm
again. By 2004, the wildlife-farming industry was
worth an estimated $100 billion yuan. And it exerted significant influence over
the Chinese government. It’s because of this influence that the Chinese
government has allowed these markets to grow over the years. In 2016, for example, the government sanctioned
the farming of some endangered species like tigers, and pangolins. By 2018, the wildlife industry had grown to
148 billion yuan and had developed clever marketing tactics to keep the markets around. Yet, these products became popular with an
influential portion of China’s population: It’s this minority that the Chinese government
chose to favor over the safety of the rest of its population. Soon after the coronavirus outbreak,
the Chinese government shut down thousands of wet-markets and temporarily banned wildlife
trade again. Organizations around the world have been urging
China to make the ban permanent. Chinese social media, in particular, has been
flooded with petitions to ban it for good this time. In response, China is reportedly amending
the Wildlife Protection Law that encouraged wildlife farming decades ago. But unless these actions lead to a permanent
ban on wildlife farming, outbreaks like this one are bound to happen again. For a bunch more information about China’s wet-markets, viruses, and wildlife, we have an episode on our Netflix show called The Next Pandemic, explained. It talks about a coronavirus could spark the next pandemic and what the world’s experts are doing to stop it. That’s on our Netflix show ‘Explained’. Check it out.

100 comments

  1. Over on Vox.com we answered 11 of the biggest questions surrounding the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak: Is it safe to travel? How does coronavirus spread? Should I buy a face mask? Read them all here: http://bit.ly/3cHFSgT

    What other questions do you want to see answered? Submit them here: bit.ly/2xjbJEj

  2. Why aren't vegans doing something? they are supposed to protest over their for causing harm to animals. Vegans do something more useful and protest over there.

  3. they love to eat exotic foods and some of these wildlife creatures carries viruses that is transmittable even to humans

  4. Are y'all trying to lie and say this bioweapon escaped from a Street market? Get the heck outta here. This was CREATED IN A LAB!!! LIARS!!!

  5. Stop assuming meat. Question your obsession with meat. Your addiction to meat. Spend one week vegetarian and see if you then begin to salivate as you pass Mac Donald’s— look at you, an addict. Don’t try to sanitize and make noble the western meat industry—it’s a giant on a rampage.

  6. China should be responsible for all the costs for any outbreaks that start there due to their want to eat everything that moves.

  7. remember, no one have a ture evidence can prove this virus is really originated frome China.
    Mabye is originated frome other contry like Italy or someelse

  8. Don't eat exotic food clean what you eat don't eat what you want.. Now the case of corona virus is everywhere? If in the beggining Lock down china No entry No exit therefore the case not spreading if your country are concerned to everyone.🤔

  9. Even non Muslims all over the world says these animals are disgusting to eat … I say non Muslims bcz Muslims are prohibited by religion to not eat these wild animals… And now the world knows reason behind it why Islam prohibit these anaimals…!

  10. Hmmm, funny how, oh I don’t know… NO PLAGUE EVER in history started because of vegetarian/veganism. 🤔 Just a thought 🤷🏽‍♀️

  11. People should learn to understand that food is medicine as per Ayurveda… Plants and herbs are best.. India food has medicinal herbs which is capable of curing any disease…

  12. IF THIS INFECT THE WORLD MUCH FURTHER TO THE POINT WHERE IT KILLS MILLIONS THEY MUST BE DESTROYED WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS WITH NO WARNING SIGNS OF ATTACK

  13. Thats how the greatest country in the world works,now you cant nuke a country but you can destroy them from the inside with virus.

  14. 我是一名中国人 我深深爱着我的祖国 在这种国难当头的时候 请广大外国友人相信我们能同仇敌忾 众志成城的打赢这场没有硝烟的战争
    I am Chinese I love my motherland very much ALthough I just a 14 years old boy

  15. There is actually nothing wrong that they use to each such exotic animals since it is part of their culture. What they all need is a good hygiene.

  16. Overpopulation, unregulated food practices. Eating anything that moves. They have no laws on the inhumane treatment of animals. Karma.

  17. Chinese's govt has recently instructed its prison officials to execute prisoners on death row and their bodies to be dismembered just like how the Saudis did it for Kashoggi's body and sell it in the global markets showing it as exotic foods.

  18. what about the man-made aspects to this virus?  this is not natural the way it's spreading either.  we're getting sprayed or something.

  19. Novel coronavirus is the novel coronavirus that first came and became popular in the United States in 2019. The influenza virus in the United States contains a new coronavirus, but the Americans do not know it. In October, the infected people took part in the world armyman games in Wuhan, China. They brought the virus to China. They happened to meet the annual Spring Festival of the Chinese people, and a large number of people gathered, which led to a pandemic.

  20. Is china going to destroy all the infected animals in these wet-markets, in order to get control of the out-break, it would seem very logical and important for the stopping of the deadly spread..

  21. Sarvejana sukinobhavatu . Loka smastha sukinobhavatu. This is sanskrit saying in India taught by ancestors which means everyone on the planet should be happy including all people and living beings. Save mother earth and be vegan

  22. If it isn’t a giant asteroid, ignorance, indifference, lack of empathy and greed are what will drive humanity to extinction. And I’m not even mad such disease exists, seeing how the Chinese wet markets treat animals. They played god and deserve the consequences. And we will too if we don’t do anything to stop it.

  23. time proves everything. Till now there is no official report about COVID19 origination. Any suspicion or slander is not approporiate now.

  24. All these hates…Are you guys Vegan?
    As the video clearly demonstrates, the reason why they start eating wild animal was that chinese govt was unable to sustain its population and I'm assuming eating those animals have become part of the culture. So, gosh…please be understanding toward cultures that are different than yours. So, let's say they stop the commercialisation of these animals, do you think the virus( not this one but others as well) would not have found other ways to spread itself? Afterall, reptiles are still going to eat whatever they want even in its natural habitat and come in contact with other animals and will eventually find its ways to human( we all seem to go bio lately). We cannot control the formation of new viruses, there is always going to be an epidemic that is going to affect people. We survived past viruses, why not this one? Also, perhaps the future viruses would be from a chicken eating a worm, and then we will have to stop production of chicken because it is spreading the virus? I really hate the mentality of people where they are like "if its not working, then we got to stop this" instead of trying to find alternatives to resolve the issues.

  25. Can’t understand how do they consume those weird things while easiest one is already on the table. Greedy mankind !!!!

  26. communism starved people, and they developed wet markets that in turn is a global hotbed for some of the worst pandemic viruses known to man… But then china discounts their manufacturing prices to the US, so it's ignored.

  27. BRAIN EXERCISE __—__->> You get into a Food Court — say there is a choice – Veg Soup or non veg soup what is your choice…!!!???? Think think think!!!!

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