As China reopens its so-called wet markets, which are linked to the early spread of the coronavirus, a commentator on Bloomberg is cheering the development.
In a commentary piece published by Bloomberg, columnist David Fickling unabashedly cheers on the development of the markets’ return, saying “consumers regard them as a healthier and more sustainable alternative” to Chinese supermarkets.
Fickling admits not everyone is as cognizant as he is of the benefits of wet markets.
“It’s understandable that countries now in the grip of the first wave of infection might be outraged. Many blame wet markets for starting the outbreak in the first place. Opening them again, at a moment when thousands are dying overseas, seems emblematic of Beijing’s increasingly chauvinistic approach to world affairs,” he wrote.
He also noted that at a time of a viral pandemic, when the world is obsessed with cleanliness, wet markets are anything but clean.
“Animals in wet markets are penned and slaughtered or sold live right next to stalls selling fruit and vegetables. Conditions, as my colleague Adam Minter has written, are often less than hygienic,” he wrote.
“Places where a range of common and exotic animals mix together while bodily fluids flow freely may seem a fertile breeding ground for the virulent novel diseases that cross the species barrier to humans and occasionally become pandemics,” he wrote. Then added: “At the same time, let’s put the outrage on pause.”
— Bloomberg Economics (@economics) April 4, 2020
Fickling then suggested that focusing on wet markets in Wuhan as the source of the coronavirus does the markets an injustice.
“The prevalence of food-borne microbial illness in developing East Asia suggests that, far from being cesspits of disease, wet markets do a good job of providing households with clean, fresh produce. And while the origins of coronavirus remain obscure, they may have at least as much to do with more worldwide activities such as intensive farming as practices specific to Asia,” he wrote.
He then tried to equate China’s wet markets with something closer to home.
“The attraction of wet markets isn’t so different from that of farmers markets in Western countries,” he wrote.
Fickling’s comments run counter to the opinions of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“It boggles my mind how, when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we just don’t shut it down,” Fauci said Friday on “Fox & Friends,” according to Fox News.
“I don’t know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that,” Fauci said.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has fired off angry missives to China, opposing the reopening of wet markets.
However, Fickling maintained there is nothing wrong with wet markets that a few new rules and building codes can’t fix.
“To the extent that the mix of the raw and the cooked in Asia’s wet markets is a health problem, it can easily be mitigated by better building design (such as separating meat, vegetable and livestock areas and keeping markets fully enclosed), plus the sort of mandated cleaning regulations found in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea,” he wrote.
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