3,86,984 cases, 16,751 deaths across 196 countries and territories (As on 24th March 2020) – These may have soared by the time this piece is published, sadly. The woes of Wuhan have affected the entire world, with the quick-spread of the panic and fear, multi-folds compared to the spread of the virus itself. And rightly so, humans should be scared and vary of the situation, especially since it is the wake up call we cannot snooze no more.
Sweeping across the world, the COVID-19 is a mystery pathogen that proved itself of being this sly murderer of the healthiest looking of sorts. This undercover breeder made its mark in the world, for the wrong reasons of course, with news articles, political views, reduced GDP growth forecast and rumors across social media.
THE TICKING TIME-BOMB
The glaring surge in those succumbing to this lethal epidemic is not just stats to look at and mourn; it is to consider them as the time bomb that’s tickling. On the positive, it is still tickling, which means we can defuse it and walk free. How? Ask doctors, or Google it as we always do, they say, wash your hands with soap or alcohol-infused rub, cover yourself with a mask, and stay clean and positive. Now that’s prevention, not cure. What if there really was a way to defuse this bomb and many others like this that will slyly take charge soon after?
Most wildlife species are designed to stay away from each other, their habitats (how nature intended to be) are so dense that they make room for them to rarely ever come in contact with each other. Just like many others, humans managed to disrupt this natural course by confining these varied species in such close proximities that they are not just depressed and dehydrated, but are also prone to live viruses from the blood and body fluids from the butchering of their counterparts. The picture that is right now painted as you read; is the everyday scenario at ‘wet markets’ of China, well known for wildlife trade, now renowned for the space where new diseases are spawned.
Joe Walston, Head of Global Conservation at the nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Society said, “You could not design a better way of creating pandemics. It’s really the perfect mechanism, not just for the Wuhan corona-virus but for the next ones that will undoubtedly emerge sooner rather than later.”
Making matters worse, these wildlife trade markets see a new rare species carrying a new set of viruses and pathogens, increasing the risk of cross-species transmission. There’s a way out, and that way out is to stop, yes stop, the consumption, the trade and the practice of animal agriculture.
BREAKING THE CHAIN
Don’t wait for a government ban; this will motivate us to continue doing it illegally anyway, underground, which will escalate risks of poor hygiene and high chances of new outbreaks. Eventually, making it worse.
Change begins from us, and the first step towards breaking this chain of destruction is realizing the bad and the wrong. The next step is to act towards correcting it. First off, a plant-based lifestyle, one that does not involve consuming or using anything that associates itself with the use of animal meat or secretion. One step, and you start making a huge difference – To be precise, a vegan diet cuts your environmental footprint by half. Imagine the ripple effect of that if all of us went plant-based! Did you know, the depleting number of animals and deforestation that support various industries like the dairy, meat, fashion; disrupts the ecosystem and is responsible for novel deadly microbes to spreading into human populations? The solution is right there, lets join hands and boycott the use of products that come from these industries. We don’t pay, they’re forced to mend their ways. Change truly is just baby steps away.
The Royal Society report published in 2014 said, “A major lesson from SARS is that the underlying roots of newly emergent zoophytic diseases may lie in the parallel biodiversity crisis of massive species loss as a result of over exploitation of wild animal populations and the destruction of their natural habitats by increasing human populations.”
The impact of Coronavirus has rippled beyond the death tolls because of SARS. The luxury of sitting back without pivoting to a better way of living, a diet that is not dependent on the rate of exploitation on animals and their natural habitat, is not a choice anymore, it is the need of the hour.