Dear Reader (including those of you quarantined at a California air base),
Welcome to the Age of the Wet Market.
By now you’ve heard that the coronavirus everyone is talking about is believed to have originated in a Chinese wet market in the city of Wuhan. Wet markets sell live and dead animals, and not just chickens and the like. You can get bat and badger meat—fresh bat and badger meat, since who among us likes bat haunch with freezer burn?
The intermingling of humans and wild animals, blood, excrement etc. is a great way to spread viruses. As with interns, the stress of being caged can weaken the immune systems of animals, making it possible for disease to hop from one species to another. Also, many of the vendors actually live with, or in close proximity, to, their “livestock”—I use quotes because I’m unsure if I can call bats, snakes, and badgers livestock. (I’m much more confident I will never call them “lunch.”)