Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Does Anybody Know Where We are Headed?


Does Anybody Know Where We are Headed?

The Answer is NO, but that’s OK


I find myself in a very strange psychological state these days. While I am very much enjoying my personal life I find myself retreating from engaging to any great extent with the “big, bad world” out there for this reason – it seems that NOBODY has a clue where we are headed? Aren’t there any “adults” out there to take charge? It seems not.

Once this painful realization trickled slowly into my consciousness I found myself less and less interested in the news. Why? I think it is because I could see no pattern – it seems that all events are random and make no sense. I guess that means I have a compulsive need to see patterns and then use that information to help me better understand both “the world” and my life within that bigger picture. Now that I cannot do that – I have lost interest. Perhaps human society is reflecting what is happening to the Earth’s global climate system – we are sliding over from one stable to a new stable “normal” – a world so completely different that we have no reference from which to create our bearings from. If you look at this diagram about climate change perhaps my sense of loss makes more sense. Now, you first have to imagine that significant shifts in the human world are not that different in structure from the Natural world and are, in fact, linked – as we are a part of Nature. Thus, if there are disruptions in Nature, there are bound to be disruptions in human society as well. Thus, my confused state of mind makes sense as what I have understood in the past was only possible within the framework of the world of the past – the interglacial world – but now we seem to be moving to a “hothouse Earth” planet – a world you and I do not know and cannot understand.

Are you also in this state? Do things you hear make no sense? Are you honestly able to listen to the news, especially about our dear friends south of the border, without cringing and losing whatever bit of hope you had for your kids future? It seems to me that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, commonly known as Entropy, [ie. Left to themselves things become more chaotic and less structured] has taken over and is resulting in a painful slide into… something.

What is that something? First, I have no idea. Second, I would be very leery of anybody who claims to know, at this point in time, where we are going. In other words, everything is possible. That means the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The only problem with this uncertain state is that is so much harder to imagine the good than the bad.

So, given that this article is a part of the series that asks “What can I do?” I give you this idea and challenge. First, the idea.:  life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Given that we are in a state of flux this quote from To kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee expresses a powerful truth about today’s world:


“People only see what they look for and only hear what they listen for.”


Thus, when we look for the bad, we will find it. When we look for the good, we will find it. Thus, the challenge: look and listen for the good. Flee from the ugly. Spend you energy not complaining or “fighting” bad ideas or bad people, rather, find good idea and good people to spend time with and work with. Now, I don’t mean for you to become unaware of all the nastiness of the world, but rather, to only notice it in your peripheral vision. Your focus, mind and heart, is upon what you CAN DO, not what you cannot do. For example, here is what one couple did on their wedding day because Covid did not allow them to have a sit down dinner with their guests.


This past July, when Tyler and Melanie Tapajna of Parma, Ohio decided to opt out of their plans for traditional nuptials in light of coronavirus concerns, they came up with a creative alternative that was truly inspired. The Tapajnas contacted their caterer, Betty’s Bomb Ass Burgers, but rather than looking for a refund, they asked owner Lena Brown if it would be possible to take the money from their reception and turn it into meals at a local homeless shelter instead. Having already contacted Laura’s Home, a local shelter for homeless women and children, with an eye toward making a contribution, the couple left Brown to coordinate a kid-friendly, cafeteria-style menu with the Laura’s Home kitchen manager. Their only request? They wanted to help serve the food themselves—on their wedding day.



So, let’s be more like Tyler and Melanie and help turn what seems like a terrible situation into making the world more like we want it to be and have fun while doing so!

It's Election Time!

 Another election, 2 years ahead of schedule? Why now? Well, that is obvious, the Liberals see their opportunity in a weak opposition and successful vaccine rollout to win a majority. That is fine and quite logical. The real issue is that while the Liberal talk about our problems, they do not act decisively. We are no longer living in a time where 1/2 measures will now. Being nice and trying no longer count. BC is on fire. The prairie farmers are in severe drought and having to cull their cattle for lack of feed. Species keep going extinct. Rivers keep on drying up around world [look up what is happening in poor Iraq]. Human beings are still narcissistically self absorbed on their little problems [yes, Covid-19 is relatively a small problem when compared with the Climate Disaster and Species Extinction] and still think "growing the economy" with more stuff consumed and more people doing so will magically make all our problems go away.

We know better. Only when we shift to an economy and value system that has learned to live within the limits provided by the renewable resources of the Earth/Sun do our children have a hope of having a happy and healthy quality of life. 

Now, more than ever, in spite or maybe even because of the "sillyness" happening within the Greens, is the time to stick to what we know: without a strong Green voice on Parliament Hill 'Business as Usual" will continue, with the then inevitable pain when Nature tells us, in her rather forceful and painful way, STOP!

We have a choice, as always, to think for the short term or the long term. The Greens are still the only part that is thinking for the long term. So, no matter our faults, we are still the only Strategic thinkers in town who will face the harsh truth that EVERYTHING about how we live has to change. But remember the key to this - THE CHANGE WILL BE FOR THE BETTER!

Monday, 13 April 2020

To be Become Human is be Pro-Active Instead of Reactive - Sadly, most of us are failing this

I read an article today from BBC on India's response to the pandemic which stated this:
India's response has been largely "evidence-based and reactive when it should have been projection-based and pro-active".

Most politicians are using the phrase "evidence-based" to emphasize what a great, Science-based approach they are taking. I do NOT see this as positive, as it is still reactive. Of course it is better than a mere emotional, non-data based, politically motivated approach but it is sufficient for a pandemic. 

One of the qualities that sets human apart from other animals is our ability to imagine a future BEFORE it happens. That is why we have stories. The book "The story telling Animal" makes the case is that it is telling of stories that allowed us as a social animal to learn and transfer that learning from generation to generation. We did not have to repeat the mistakes of the past and thus avoid a lot of pain and death. Certainly this is one of the purposes of Religion. Pork is banned from Kosher tables for good reason - improperly cooked pork killed people in the past. Given that they did not know about viruses, bacteria and parasites it made good sense to make it a religious ban. Most importantly, it worked! 

Of course today we do not rely upon Religion but on Science - in effect, Science, sociologically, is our "religion" [small r] in that it helps makes sense of the mess called the Universe and guides our decision making. We ignore it at our own peril. Most people now know that but they are only seeing Science as "data". Yes, Science uses data, but the power of Science, like any good story, is that it is a predictive tool. It warns you about what is coming towards you BEFORE it happens.

So, your challenge and the challenge of our leaders, is to now get out of a Reactive mode and into a Pro-Active mode by focusing on the so called "End-Game". How are we going to get ourselves out this mess? How will life be different after the pandemic is over? What changes will I have to make in my life, or my country? I hand you this challenge as you, like me, try to become more human by thinking ahead and making changes BEFORE you are forced to.

Good Luck!

Do what today others won't, so tomorrow, you can do what others can't.
Brian Loop

Sunday, 29 March 2020

The surgery was a success but the patient died

The surgery was a success but the patient died
Are the side-effects of our “cure” for the covid-19 virus worse than the disease itself?

There are some remedies worse than the disease.
– Publius Syrus, Roman writer, 50 BC

Our response to the Covid-19 virus is a choice: the frying or the fryer.
Our Age, like all Ages, has its unique contradictions that have helped us rise to the pinnacles of success, but which also have set in motion our inevitable death and decline. Here are a few historical anecdotes to make the point that all societies face calamities such as the Covid-19 virus which sometimes result in the collapse of that society yet for other societies inflict horrible damage that actually strengthen that society. My question is really this: which society are we? Will this crises permanently weaken us, or will it be a “blip” that spurs us to change in ways that will make us a more vibrant society?

This short essay examines the uncomfortable reality that the unintended consequences of “fighting” the covid-19 virus are also extremely damaging and will also result in the deaths of many innocent people. I find this an extremely painful realization. To be clear, these words are NOT a proposal for allowing people to die, but rather a consideration of the human condition so well described in the dying days of the Roman Empire in the book “The Consolation of Philosophy” by Boethius, who was wrongfully imprisoned and then sentenced to death. He wrote:

If I have fully diagnosed the cause and nature of your condition, you are wasting away in pining and longing for your former good fortune. It is the loss of this which, as your imagination works upon you, has so corrupted your mind. I know the many disguises of that monster, Fortune, and the extent to which she seduces with friendship the very people she is striving to cheat, until she overwhelms them with unbearable grief at the suddenness of her desertion”  

First, let’s set the stage.
We all know, deep down in our souls, that life is harsh.
That to live is to die.
That sorrow follows inevitably after great joy just as rain follows a day of sunshine.
These contrasts and contradictions are the essence of life itself.
But our current society does its best to deny this harsh beauty.
We cocoon ourselves in comfort and denial to avoid facing this harsh truth.
Unfortunately for us, we are not gods and still subject to the natural rises and falls of fickle Fortune so well examined by Boethius.

Boethius’s conversation with “philosophy” focuses on the role of one of the fates, the goddess of fortune – both good and bad. She is pictured above. Her horn of plenty can bring good luck, in the form of money, but notice that her eyes are covered. This symbolizes that your ‘good fortune’ is not always because you deserve it, you just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Conversely, as happened with Boethius, he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time: in charge of running Rome just as the new barbarians took over.  Often she is pictured with a ball to represent the unsteadiness of fortune--unsteady and capable of rolling in any direction. It is our lot in life to be subject to this random good and bad fortune.

You are wrong if you think Fortune has changed toward you.
Change is her normal behavior, her true nature.
Boethius, living just after the fall of Rome

Now in historical terms terrible events like the covid-19 virus have appeared as plagues time and time again. What is interesting to note is that sometimes the terrible deaths from these plagues have completely shattered societies but at other times they have not. One of my favourite historians Hugh Trevor-Roper, in his book “The Rise of Christian Europe” explains why the Black death of the 14th century destroyed feudalism yet had minimal socio-economic impact in 17th century England:

The same causes do not necessarily produce the same results in history. The results may even be opposite. What causes the general decline in 14th century Europe? It was not only the Black Death. Population had already started to decline before the plague. The abandonment of villages beyond the Elbe had also begun before the Black Death, so had the agrarian and urban discontent in the West. In general a healthy society soon recovers from decimation by an epidemic. London would shrug off the terrible plagues of 1625 and 1665. It is feeble societies which are fatally damaged – and which then ascribe their weakness to that cause.”

What this means today is that we would wise to ask this question:
Are we as enfeebled as 14th century Europe or as vibrant as 17th century England?

This question applies both to individual countries and our global neo-liberal global economic system. In other words, the covid-19 virus is simply testing us. Are we an enfeebled and inflexible society already weakened by internal dysfunction or are we a dynamic and flexible one that will suffers many deaths, learn from it, change, and after a short hiatus continues to thrive and grow?

There are many ways to look at this. One way is this. Will the Chinese approach of total State control or the American style of controlled chaos be the more effective social model for dealing with the covid-19 crises? Which approach will allow the society to take a hit but then move on, having made the necessary changes and continue to be dynamic? Time will tell.

And here is yet another way of looking at things. In the last global pandemic of 1919, the Spanish Flu, some 20-50 million people died.  Yet, after a year of misery and death, the affected countries boomed again and roared into the 1920 with fresh energy and new dynamism. Why is that? One could hypothesize that the way our society is responding to death is very different than 100 years ago. Here is an a little social insight from the writings of Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes., from a story entitled “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”, written around 1890. The two main characters in the story had met in Australia but now live in England. The rich one has a daughter, and the poorer one a son who wants to marry the daughter. The rich father would not allow her to marry the poor boy. (of course!) It turns out one of the fathers had robbed a wagon shipment full of gold in Australia while the other father had been the driver of the wagon. This bandit, the rich father, had just murdered the poorer man recently in the UK – that is why Sherlock Holmes was there. Now here is the surprising bit: when Sherlock finds all this out and confronts the murderer he lets him go (under certain conditions) because he is dying from diabetes (he dies a few months later) and because his going to jail would damage the potential future happiness of the son and daughter who want to get married. Why? The poorer father was blackmailing him. Somehow, at that time, putting the dying man in jail, who was described as having a good, moral character while the blackmailer was described as a ‘cur’, justified a murderer not going to jail. Also, the future happiness of the young was put ahead of ‘blind justice’. I find this a very interesting insight into the values of the time. I am not sure of what I can conclude except to say that this was a different world than ours. One hypothesis is this: we are overly sensitive about pain, suffering and death. We think we can avoid it and tame it and control it. Back then they could not. People had to accept their lot and just adapt. You could not fight Nature then, and yet we try to know. We act today like gods in that we consider ourselves apart from Nature and not subject to her Laws.     
This is clearly delusional thinking.

Finally, there is the question of our end game.
Eventually, according to some epidemiologists, we will be stuck with this virus being part of life, just like the common cold is. While we should and can try to reduce the number of deaths we need to be aware that economic collapse also kills people. There has been a lot written on that, so I will gloss over this very large topic, except to refer to this email exchange between 2 of my friends:
The first said:
''As I have said.....When this virus kills over 650,000.....give me a call. The average per year from the flu is 398,000. In 2017 The flu killed up to 650,000 worldwide..... That was a bad year.  This is supposed to be really bad...right? We are at 21,000 right now.  Again...every death is a tragedy.  But the reaction is NOT justified by these numbers. Is it???  I am all ears.'' 
The response from the other was:
“1% death rate is the current number. I have read a range of 0.5-1%.  The range due to poor testing in many countries. We also have little data from the '3rd world' or the developing world where they have less developed health systems. From what I have read, >80% of deaths are people over 60 years of age. In Italy, most have prior health conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, heart, ...). PUNCHLINE: OLD & SICK PEOPLE ARE DYING. We should feel blessed that this disease is not impacting our youth. In the rich west, these are people that are alive due to the miracles of modern health care & med's. In poor societies, most of these people are already dead due to insufficient wealth. This is a first world problem that the rich nations are exporting around the world.
The global population growth rate will replace those who pass within 1-2 years. Demographically at a macro scale, this is a blip.
People die for a lot of reasons. Our decisions regarding lifestyle choices lead to many negative health outcomes.
- the WHO site reports that 17.9 million people die each year from heart disease. Much of these deaths is due to lifestyle choices. https://www.who.int/health-topics/cardiovascular-diseases/#tab=tab_1
- 9.6 million deaths per year due to cancer. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer
- Road accidents. Nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44 (YOUNG PEOPLE). https://www.asirt.org/safe-travel/road-safety-facts/
What are the opportunity costs associated with current policies (protect people, limit COVID-19 spread, high economic price)?
- the weakest people in our society are (and will be) most impacted. Folks living on the street. Folks who depend on various volunteer organization in a multitude of ways. Folks whose skills sets (e.g. decision making) are weak. Folks in urban or rural slums. Etc.  
- the people in the poorest nations do not have civil services or a health system. Aid organizations have shut down & pulled out of many of these locations. There will be a huge & negative impact. Will civil peace last?
- there is a direct link between economic hardship & decreased health outcomes. e.g. The Lancet - Effect of economic recession and impact of health and social protection expenditures on adult mortality: a longitudinal analysis of 5565 Brazilian municipalities: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30409-7/fulltext
- Economic scarring - The long-term impacts of the recession (this looks at the economic impacts, not health impacts: https://www.epi.org/publication/bp243/
People are in 'emotion mode'. So are our governments. Collectively, we lack resilience. We live in this mindset where we expect to be protected from hardship forever. Impossible.  In the old days they would say “grow up”.”

Finally, my bigger concern is with the long term impact of a social movement towards a surveillance state. A bit of background on this topic. The idea of constant surveillance for the purpose of social control was first put forward by a reformer of the jail system in England around 1887 by the name of Jeremy Bentham with his idea of the Panopticon.

The 1843 plans for the panopticon prison were described by Bentham as a "new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in quantity hitherto without example". Bentham reasoned that if the prisoners of the panopticon prison could be seen but never knew when they were watched, the prisoners would need to follow the rules. Bentham also thought that Reveley's prison design could be used for factoriesasylumshospitals, and schools. (Wikipedia)

Today experts in social media, 5G, facial recognition, privacy and human rights, etc. all recognize the power and the threat that our modern communication and data base technologies pose as we, unwittingly, turn our world into a giant Panopticon – in other words, a jail. If it takes the harsh measures that China has taken to defeat the virus, is it worth it if the Panopticon is our future? Not for me. My bias is simple: both of my parents fled Eastern Europe when the communists took over and lost everything. I am no fan of total state control. However, I am a fan of high social cohesion because of minimal income equality and high trust between citizens. What this means is that our response must ensure that we do NOT move in this direction to “be safe” from the virus – because in some ways, it is the perfect instrument of fear to be used by the State, as is being done in China, to successfully combat Covid-19. Yes, their methods have been effective. But at what social cost? As we consider our responses let us not forget that this virus is with us to stay, so we must eventually develop some herd immunity. We are not going to “defeat” the virus. The real question is, how do we get there with some deaths and some economic disruption, but not catastrophic deaths or economic suffering. So, yes, we must respond, but let’s include the unintended consequences of our response in our considerations. In conclusion, all I ask is this as we move forward:
Are the side-effects of our “cure” for the covid-19 virus worse
than the disease itself?

P.S. For more controversial opposing views on how we should best respond to this crises (I do not agree with all that is said, but I do think we need to consider different points of view)
"The fate of many propositions to begin as heresies and end as truths." https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/coronavirus-covid-economy-seniors-1.5510079
The shock to the global economy from Covid-19 has been faster and more severe than the 2008 global financial crisis and even the Great Depression. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/25/coronavirus-pandemic-has-delivered-the-fastest-deepest-economic-shock-in-history
Are we over reacting?
Dr Sucharit Bhakdi is a specialist in microbiology.  We are afraid that 1 million infections with the new virus will lead to 30 deaths per day over the next 100 days. But we do not realise that 20, 30, 40 or 100 patients positive for normal coronaviruses are already dying every day. All our measures are leading to self-destruction and collective suicide based on nothing but a spook

A Short History of Deadly Viruses from China

A Short History of Deadly Viruses from China

Ring around the Rosie. Pocket full of poesy. Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down
14th century Nursery rhyme from the Black Death

History gives us a useful context into which to place current events. Remember, there is nothing really new under the sun and what we think is unique has happened in some form already. A curious fact is that the majority of deadly pandemic viruses that have wreaked havoc and death across the world originate in China. Here is a brief summary of these pandemics and a little bit about why they overwhelming originate from China.

541 A.D.: Justinian Plague

Originating in China , the plague (Yersinia pestis) was carried to the Great Lakes region of Africa via overland and sea trade routes. The point of origin for Justinian’s plague was Egypt https://www.ancient.eu/article/782/justinians-plague-541-542-ce/  The Justinian plague spread through Palestine and the Byzantine Empire, and then throughout the Mediterranean.
The plague changed the course of the empire, squelching Emperor Justinian's plans to bring the Roman Empire back together and causing massive economic struggle. It is also credited with creating an apocalyptic atmosphere that spurred the rapid spread of Christianity. Recurrences over the next two centuries eventually killed about 50 million people, 26 percent of the world population. It is believed to be the first significant appearance of the bubonic plague, which features enlarged lymphatic gland and is carried by rats and spread by fleas.

1350: The Black Death

Gene sequencing, from which scientists can gather hereditary data of organisms, has revealed that the Black Death, often referred to as The Plague, which reduced the world’s total population by about 100 million, originated from China over 2000 years ago, scientists from several countries wrote in the medical journal Nature Genetics. Genome sequencing has allowed the researchers to reconstruct plague pandemics from the Black Death to the late 1800s. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206309#1  Responsible for the death of one-third of the world population, this second large outbreak of the bubonic plague moved west in caravans. Entering through Sicily in 1347 A.D. when plague sufferers arrived in the port of Messina, it spread throughout Europe rapidly. Dead bodies became so prevalent that many remained rotting on the ground and created a constant stench in cities.

1855: The Third Plague Pandemic

Starting in China and moving to India and Hong Kong, the bubonic plague claimed 15 million victims. Initially spread by fleas during a mining boom in Yunnan, the plague is considered a factor in the Parthay rebellion and the Taiping rebellion. India faced the most substantial casualties, and the epidemic was used as an excuse for repressive policies that sparked some revolt against the British. 

1918 Spanish Flu

1918 Flu Pandemic That Killed 50 Million [possibly] originated in China The deadly "Spanish flu" claimed more lives than World War I, which ended the same year the pandemic struck. Now, new research is placing the flu's emergence in a forgotten episode of World War I: the shipment of Chinese laborers across Canada in sealed train cars. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/1/140123-spanish-flu-1918-china-origins-pandemic-science-health/ Historian Mark Humphries of Canada's Memorial University of Newfoundland says that newly unearthed records confirm that one of the side stories of the war—the mobilization of 96,000 Chinese laborers to work behind the British and French lines on World War I's Western Front—may have been the source of the pandemic.  The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. What was unique and terrifying about this virus is that it killed younger, healthy people, as shown below.

1957 Asian Flu and 1968 Hong Kong Flu
Two of the devastating flu pandemics of the 20th century — the Asian flu of 1957 and the Hong Kong flu of 1968 — both originated in China and left a trail of about three million deaths worldwide.
The 2003 epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which killed 774 people, nearly all of them in mainland China, was traced to palm civets sold as exotic meat in southern Chinese food markets. The virus behind a deadly 1997 bird flu outbreak that fatally infected at least 18 people in Hong Kong is believed to have originated among fowl raised in southern mainland China — the source of virtually all poultry in the Chinese territory.

Why China?
There are two reasons why China is the source of most deadly pandemics: international trade and wildlife farming/live animal markets. Trade is the main ‘vector’ by which the plagues above have spread, going back to the Roman Empire. While the same unsafe farming/live animal markets exist in Africa as China that continent has now, and historically, had much less trade and movement of people than across Asia. Furthermore, because of high population density, many epidemiologists point to some fundamental facts about China as being pandemic prone: the proximity of urban and rural dwellers and  the slaughterhouses and urban markets where animals are freshly butchered.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/10/world/asia/china-epidemics-coronavirus.html

The dangerous cross species transfer of viruses mostly come from China because both today and historically they have farming practices that make this transfer almost inevitable. For example, the Guardian recently reported:

“For the past few years China’s leadership has pushed the idea that “wildlife domestication” should be a key part of rural development, eco-tourism and poverty alleviation. A 2017 report by the Chinese Academy of Engineering on the development of the wildlife farming industry valued the wildlife-farming industry those operations at 520bn yuan, or £57bn.
Just weeks before the outbreak, China’s State Forestry and Grassland Administration (SFGA) was still actively encouraging citizens to get into farming wildlife such as civet cats – a species pinpointed as a carrier of Sars, a disease similar to Covid-19. The SFGA regulates both farming and trade in terrestrial wildlife, and quotas of wildlife products – such as pangolin scales – allowed to be used by the Chinese medicine industry. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/25/coronavirus-closures-reveal-vast-scale-of-chinas-secretive-wildlife-farm-industry

This begs the question, was Covid19 avoidable? Of course! Sars was the result of a similar cross species transfer of a virus from a wild animal to people in a ‘wet’ market:

“After the SARS outbreak in 2003, which was traced to a wet market in the southern Guangdong Province, a temporary ban on wet markets and the wild-animal industry were put in place. In July of that year, the World Health Organization declared the SARS virus contained, and in August the Chinese government lifted the ban. Wet markets are found the world over, typically open-air sites selling fresh meat, seafood, and produce. The meats often are butchered and trimmed on-site. Markets in China have come in for justifiable condemnation because of the way they’ve evolved, commingling traditional livestock with a wide variety of wild animals, including exotic and endangered species. Many are quite unsanitary, with blood, entrails, excrement, and other waste creating the conditions for disease that migrates from animals to people through virus, bacteria, and other forms of transmission. Such “zoonotic diseases” that have emerged from China and other regions of the world include Ebola, HIV, bird flu, swine flu, and SARS. The wild animals that mix with more common livestock — poultry, swine, and seafood — form a deadly combination. And, as has been well reported by Vox and others, wild-animal farming has a long history in China.” https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/03/the-chinese-wild-animal-industry-and-wet-markets-must-go/
So, the truth is that without the worldwide elimination of ‘wet’ markets, including those in Africa, we are sure to have another outbreak like or [probably] worse than Covid19 . A final note – the Covid-19 virus does not compare to these viruses in terms of its death rate. It also rarely strikes younger, healthy people. The covid-19 death rate is estimated at perhaps 1% [we won’t know for sure until we have good data, which is hard to come by] while the black death killed up to 50% of people. So really, there is no need for most of us to panic. Let’s just follow social distancing and hand washing protocols and most of us will be fine. When we do this we are protecting the vulnerable – an essential act for a civilized society.

Civet cats – thought to be potential carriers of Sars – are among the animals farmed for meat in China.