It’s The Culture, Stupid! How we got the Wuhan Coronavirus

With Novel Coronavirus spreading like wildfire everywhere in the world now, perhaps you are wondering how it all started, where this virus came from in the first place.  You might wish to know how it was that, last fall in China, someone in the medical establishment there noticed some cases of a particularly nasty pneumonia cropping up around Hubei Province in central China; the capital city of Wuhan in particular.

Let’s start, then, at the beginning.  Chinese culture is very old, going back many centuries, and many of the culinary characteristics of today’s China are throwbacks to a much more primitive time.  In the long past, like in most countries, the Chinese people lived closer to the forests.  In those forests lived many species of animals, and the people killed and ate those animals.  When the Chinese people became more civilized, and moved into villages and then into cities, they brought many of their culinary tastes with them.  Chinese people today still have a taste for unusual foods like pangolin, bats, and sharks-fins.  It is well-known that Chinese will pay good money for some very unusual foods, and that has led to their encouraging of poaching of some endangered species.

Cultures in Africa also have a taste for some exotic wildlife, and many tribes today still live in or near jungles and forests, where they hunt and eat wild animals, sometimes including primates.  Here is a picture of a market stall in Africa, where they are selling exotic wildlife for food.

bushmeat-Africa

In Africa, this is called “bushmeat”, and you can see the face of a primate among the specimens in this market.  It is well-known that some diseases can be spread by the consumption of exotic animals, and that eating the flesh of primates may carry what is known in humans as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.  This is a particularly gruesome, incurable condition that causes the brain to deteriorate.

Getting back to the beginning, scientists for decades have known that many exotic species of forest and jungle wildlife carry their own kinds of viruses and bacteria.  In these species, the pathogens often do not cause any kind of adverse effects or illnesses.  In fact, we humans also carry many harmless, and sometimes beneficial, viruses and bacteria (bacteria are what actually allows us to digest our food).  It is only when humans consume, or live among, these exotic species that their viruses and bacteria can “jump” to humans, and then they can cause very harmful diseases.  This process is called “zoonosis”.

In the early 20th Century, it has been determined, the virus that causes AIDS first jumped from African primates to humans.  It remained localized for a long time, but eventually made its way into civilization, and they was spread very rapidly by homosexual humans and their multiple sex partners (the original “spreader” was a flight attendant who boasted of over 2,500 partners).  The Ebola virus, whose name is a river in Africa, was spread by Africans and their penchant for eating bushmeat, and it remains a stubborn low-level epidemic in multiple parts of Africa.  Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a virus found in horses that can spread to humans, and African Swine Fever has recently decimated the pigs of China (it is similar to Ebola in humans).  Scientists and wildlife experts have been trying for decades to get Africans to stop eating bushmeat, but their efforts have been in vain.  Culture is just too powerful.

Well, the same kind of situation holds in modern China.  The Wuhan Wet Market is an institution in the large capital city of Hubei Province, where citizens can buy all manner of wild animals for food.  Investigators have determined that the virus that is now propagating everywhere in the world originated in bats sold in the market.  And the Chinese people have proven similarly resistant to giving up their cultural taste for exotic food.  The Communist Party has closed the market for now, but the culture does not change that quickly.  Here’s a new interesting article.

China has been a Communist country since 1949, and the Party has added another layer of culture over the original Chinese culture.  Their culture of secrecy and arrogance contributed in large part to the spread of this new disease.  However, their very-Chinese concentration on “saving face” also helped in a big way to keep this world-wide pandemic going.  The Communist Party’s prime directive is tranquillity-they will do anything to avoid unrest in the population.  So they did things like suppress news of the disease outbreak, and put the doctor who originally told his medical colleagues about it under isolation, making him sign a confession to “spreading rumors”, and condemning him to death from the virus.

Communism is Evil, and it can lead to situations like we are seeing now.  People all over the world are succumbing to this previously-unknown virus, and their deaths can be attributed in part to Chinese and Communist Culture.

2 thoughts on “It’s The Culture, Stupid! How we got the Wuhan Coronavirus

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