Story at a glance
- The Chinese government has reportedly allowed some wet markets in the country to reopen as the coronavirus threat in the country has allegedly decreased.
- The coronavirus that has killed more than 55,000 is believed to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China, but health officials don’t know the exact source of the virus.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has called on the closure of wet markets in China.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Friday China and other nations should be pressured to shut down so-called “wet markets” as the new novel coronavirus spreads throughout the world.
“[They] should shut down those things right away,” Fauci told 'Fox & Friends" Friday. “It just boggles my mind that when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface that we don’t just shut it down.”
Scientists have yet to determine exactly how the novel coronavirus spreading around the globe began infecting people. But theories have swirled that the virus originated in bats, then infected another animal that passed it to humans at a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The Chinese government has allowed some wet markets in the country to reopen as the coronavirus threat has reportedly decreased, but the one in Wuhan remains closed, according to Fox News. The Hunan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was linked to an early large cluster of coronavirus cases, according to The Washington Post. China’s wet markets sell dead and living animals for human consumption and are known for lack of hygiene and government oversight.
Fauci said in other nations where such markets are commonplace, he would like to see “the rest of the world really lean with a lot of pressure on those countries that have that because what we’re going through right now is a direct result of that.”
But the question of whether to ban such markets is a complex one. The Chinese government tried to ban wet markets in 2013 after a deadly avian flu outbreak, which only led to more dangerous black markets.On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called on his Senate colleagues to sign on to a letter to the ambassador from China urging Beijing to reconsider its decision to open wet markets, pointing to remarks from Fauci who called China’s decision misguided.
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“Bringing wild and exotic animals to open markets to interact with humans and other food supplies is both crazy and dangerous,” Graham tweeted. “Hope my Republican and Democratic Senate colleagues will sign onto my letter to the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. urging the immediate closure of these wet markets for the safety of the world at large.”
Just spoke with Dr. Fauci on a conference call about China's decision to reopen their wet markets.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) April 2, 2020
He emphatically stated this was a crazy decision by China which puts the world's health at risk.
More than one million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed since the virus emerged late last year, and more than 55,000 deaths have occurred.
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