by Kerry Greener - Easy Vegan Limited
Coronavirus Death Toll
The global death toll from the new super-bug has risen to at least 2707. Thousands of cases have been confirmed, including 13 in the UK. However, many believe figures from Chinese authorities are vastly under-estimated.
As of today (25th February 2020), there are 49,761 currently infected patients world-wide with 9,215 people in a critical condition. Click here for an up-to-date report.
The World Health Organization has said everyone should be doing more to prepare for a possible coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists believe contact with live animals or the flesh of slaughtered animals may be the original cause of the disease.
China's omnivorous markets are at the centre of another lethal outbreak. The coronavirus spread from a live wildlife and animal meat market in Wuhan late last year (2019) that experts describe as the perfect incubator for novel pathogens.
The infectious disease is similar to other viruses like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and is scientifically labelled '2019-nCoV'. All three spread from animals to humans. Authorities have since confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission.
The World Health Organization has a detailed description of the Coronavirus here. Suffice to say Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they transfer between animals and people.
The WHO quote on their website, "Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death."
According to research by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75% of emerging diseases originate from poorly kept animals. Filthy slaughterhouses, factory-farms and wild animal meat-markets threaten the well-being of every human being on the planet.
It is no coincidence that previous deadly diseases such as SARS, MERS, Ebola, Avian Influenza and African Swine Fever have links to Chinese animal trades.
While the exact route of the virus is not known, government officials and scientists said the new contagion had sinister similarities with the outbreak of SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, that erupted from China in 2002, which killed nearly 800 people and sickened thousands more globally.
The SARS virus made its way to a human involved in the wildlife trade in one of China's meat markets.
According to officials, the new Coronavirus also appears to have originated in bats. It further seems to have made the jump to another mammal, although which one, is not yet apparent.
The Chinese government is facing commands to do more to regulate or even ban the sale of wildlife. At the same time, questions remain unanswered as to why so little has changed in the 17 years since SARS.
Recently, officials from three national agencies announced tighter controls, including a suspension nationally of the sale and transport of animals possibly linked to the new Coronavirus. Outrageously, the statement only specified badgers and bamboo rats.
Xi Jinping, president, party head and the top military commander of China has strengthened his jurisdiction, centralized decision-making, eliminated presidential term limits and promoted his supporters.
Some say he's becoming the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. Now Xi and his party are clambering to reduce and eliminate the new coronavirus deaths and infections swiftly while simultaneously reviving China's shellshocked economy.
The problem is, with 750 million in quarantine people can't get back to business if they're taking refuge in their homes. This excellent article from Foreign Policy Magazine details the extent of the "demon virus" threat and how it has rattled the confidence of many Chinese people.
There's no denying that there is a link between the Coronavirus and contaminated meat.
Officials are yet to identity the mystery animal that incubated the virus in its body and possibly ended up in the market at Wuhan. One suspect for the smoking gun is the pangolin. It is the most widely trafficked mammal in the world and is threatened with extinction. The animal's scales are in high demand in Asia for use in traditional Chinese medicine and the flesh is considered a delicacy in some parts of China and Asia.
Could a coronavirus happen in any other country?
The importation of wild animal meat is illegal in the UK and many other countries after governing leaders adopted strict rules following disease outbreaks.
But that's not to say that these merchants don't conduct their illicit trading out of sight. Akshat Rathi, a senior reporter for Quartz.com explains that the illegal trade in wild-animal meat could cause the next global pandemic.
The latest outbreak in China not only calls for better regulations but a ban on wild animal culinary adventurism. Turtle and boar meat are common in Chinese restaurants, and game meats such as civet cats, snakes and pangolins are considered specialities in some regions.
The main reasons such exotic meats are in demand by the Chinese are from the following three main factors:
After a recent outpouring of public sentiment against the trade of live animals, a campaign on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform, drew 45 million views with the hashtag #rejectgamemeat.
Experts, scientists and investigators have warned for years that squalid farms full of sick, dying or injured animals are breeding grounds for new, antibiotic-resistant "Superbugs". Some studies claim that by 2050, more people will be dying of such diseases than cancer.
The United Nations found that the majority of new human diseases originated in animals used for food. In addition to carrying a high risk of contamination from pathogens, (including E Coli, campylobacter, and salmonella), meat has no nutritional fibre content but contains artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. As global demand for meat and meat-based products continue to rise, the World Health Organization stated that consuming processed meat causes cancer. It is no coincidence, again, that cancer mortality rates have increased. The Coronavirus is a by-product of that industry.
The World Health Organisation reports bacon, ham and sausages rank alongside cigarettes as a major cause of cancer, placing cured and processed meats in the same category as asbestos, alcohol, arsenic and tobacco.
How Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Reaches You
The problem of superbugs in the world's meat supply is reaching alarming levels. A special report by Consumer Reports called "America's Antibiotic Crisis", share a three-year-long investigation into the bacteria levels found in meat and poultry. The team tested hundreds of samples of four kinds of meat for bacterial contamination, beef, chicken, turkey and shrimp. "We found superbugs in all of them." And, the most recent FDA data shows that antibiotic use in livestock is on the rise.
Animals are fed antibiotics, and lots of them, mostly to help them grow faster. If you are a meat-eater, antibiotic-resistant bacteria reach your gut through these animals. Even if you don't eat meat, you run the risk of contamination through water systems and various other runoffs that contaminate the environment.
Following tests conducted by the Department of Health and Social Care in the UK, PETA in the United States is offering 'Go-Vegan' face masks to help protect against viral pathogens. At the same time, they spread a life-saving message. (Masks are available to pre-order here).
Why Go Vegan?
If you need any further proof that eating animals is bad for human health, then get your celery sticks out and chew on this:
There is no question with a more straightforward answer. We can't assume to continue living on our Earth as we know and love it if we continue to eat animals.
If you aren't already, the best thing you can do for your health and the world we live in is to go vegan right now.
The Easy Vegan App scans and examines your current shopping list and substitutes each product with a delicious vegan alternative - ethical, sustainable and utterly cruelty-free shopping.
With GPS tracking and intelligent AI learning technology built-in, your transition to a clean, healthy and contribution-based lifestyle starts with an Easy Vegan 30 Day Switch and Stay Try-Out Challenge.