Where does the coronavirus come from? Why new diseases keep appearing in China

Where does the coronavirus come from?

On December 31, 2019, the Chinese government issued an alert to the World Health Organization about a new illness that was spreading through the city of Wuhan.

Patients were coming down with a mysterious fever, dry cough, and pneumonia. Soon, some were dying. The source was a new virus, named SARS-CoV-2, and health officials were racing to find the source.

A leading hypothesis is that the virus emerged from animals at a popular market in Wuhan. This is not a surprise for many experts because it’s happened before.

In 2003, a virus very similar to SARS-CoV-2 emerged from a market in Foshan, China.

It caused the SARS disease, which spread to dozens of countries and killed nearly 800 people. As of March 6, SARS-CoV-2 has reached 83 countries and has killed more than 3,400 people, most of them in China.

The similarities between the two viruses raises the question: Why do new diseases keep emerging from China?

This episode of Vox Atlas examines the deeper issue of China’s wildlife trade and how it’s putting global health at risk.

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