“The origin of the new coronavirus is the wildlife sold illegally in a Wuhan seafood market,” Gao Fu, director of China Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
As I began writing the first book in my new mystery series that features a US Fish and Wildlife Service agent as the main protagonist, I have had to immerse myself in the incredibly disturbing world of current illegal wildlife trade. It has not been a fun bit or research. Imagine my mixed feelings when the very country that consumes more trafficked animals worldwide than any other is not facing yet another epidemic that originated in a Chinese ‘wet’ market. I am not going to officially go on record to say that the closing of these markets due to human lives lost (17 at the time of this writing) is a good thing, but I can’t get as upset about it as with some other human tragedies happening elsewhere. I will go on record saying that nature sure has a way of striking back at humans when a system is out of control. Pangolins, all nine species of which are endangered due to illegal trade in Asian markets, by end up being the winners after the dust from this current disease outbreak clears.
The latest death toll, announced by the provincial government of the central province of Hubei, where the virus is believed to have originated, almost doubles the previously estimated total.
More than 540 people who have contracted the virus have been taken to hospital with breathing difficulties. Many more are thought to have developed a milder form of the illness, which is mainly passed through the respiratory tract. On Thursday, authorities said 571 people had been infected. The first case of the virus was also confirmed in Hong Kong.
I am still allowing the irony of this to sink in.