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Media Type: News / Op - Ed
Year of Publication: 2020
Author(s): Carl Safina
The current coronavirus event — this most globally disruptive pandemic of our lives — is only the latest warning. Luckily, most people who get infected will recover. But we cannot afford to hit the snooze button again. There are good reasons to think that if we get comfortable, something aggressively deadly may, next time around, cause unimagined lethal chaos.
It’s not entirely clear how exactly this virus got into humans. Horseshoe bats harbor a similar type of coronavirus virus that cannot infect humans. Getting from the bats to humans seems to have required an intermediary creature, possibly civets or the strange little scaly mammals called pangolins. But that’s not the point.
The point is: bats, civets, pangolins, and humans have never before been all tangled up. They are now. Humans bring them into wildlife markets where they are killed for table fare and prescribed in baseless medicinal uses. As you know, COVID-19 appears to have originated at a live-animal market in Wuhan, China. There, a newly self-reinvented version of coronavirus stumbled upon a novel way of infecting dozens of workers, in effect striking the match that ignited the current world-rocker. In other words, driving forces of this pandemic include our broken relationship with the rest of the living world.
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