One minute read. Written by Aashna Gayatri Nayyar, a grade 9 student.
There have been many pandemics and epidemics that have shaken the world economy and killed many people, most of which have originated in China. Currently, we are facing another global pandemic, the COVID-19, commonly known as the Coronavirus that has also spread from China.
I am sure many people have heard about the Coronavirus originating from the Wuhan district of China and strangely COVID-19 is not the only virus that has originated there. Many pandemics which date back to prehistoric times originated from China.
A prehistoric epidemic that took place in Circa 3000 B.C.E emanated from china and wiped out villages! The Black Death that had terrorised many countries around the world had also come out from China in the early to mid 1300s.
Recent viruses – the Asian bird flu which started in 1956 and killed many people globally; SARS, which started in 2002, killed about 774 persons around the world; the H7N9 that struck the globe with an unofficial death toll of 127 deaths; and now in 2020 the COVID-19 that is spreading panic throughout the world, with a mortality rate of 3.4% of the world population – all started in China.
The question arises what is the connection between China and the outbreak of these viruses? The answer to this question is the Chinese meat and livestock industry. If we look at the recent epidemics, we will notice that viruses like the Asian bird flu and H7N9 came from the Chinese poultry. SARS is another Chinese animal virus, which researchers think most likely came from bats and then jumped to other animals before infecting humans. COVID-19 is also said to have originated from bats or pangolins. In China disease control, feed supplementation and housing for livestock is underdeveloped. Livestock which carry these diseases are often in close contact with each other and other animals, including humans. Live animal markets which are common throughout China, plays a role in the spread of the virus. Also, it is well known that China is a big manufacturer of questionable medicine made from body parts of different animals. Probably, this also plays a part in the spreading of a virus.
There are something called Wet Markets in China – these are open markets that mainly sell meat. But the problem is that they are not hygienic and also in these places some wild animals (which the Chinese like to eat) are mixed with the other common livestock (animals, like pigs, chicken, seafood etc). They are the cause of many diseases.
Many times the animals are butchered in these markets and that is not done properly. So the waste from these killings lies around these markets and cause diseases – which transfer to humans. These type of diseases are called Zoonotic deseases – ones that can transfer from animals to humans – Ebola, HIV, bird flu, swine flu, and SARS were all Zoonotic diseases that came from China.
The SARS outbreak that happened in 2003 also started in a Wet Market. After this, for a while, there was a ban on wet markets and the wild-animal industry were put in place. The ban was lifted when the World Health Organization said that the SARS virus was gone.
Now there is a ban again on the Wet Markets. But COVID 19 has already infected the whole world.
China should be more careful with its meat and livestock industry and be more responsible as a leading nation of the world.