Conservation Groups and Health Experts Ask WHO to Permanently Close Live Animal Markets

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SOURCE: ANTHONY KWAN/GETTY IMAGES

https://www.greenmatters.com/p/wet-markets-coronavirus?fbclid=IwAR2leUmfeu7ZqeFFWi0LOAxNxd7yiH9D1EFJymr_bdk_3WLsh8BLOz5KSgo

BY 

It’s easy to see how the novel coronavirus is spreading — but do you know how the virus began?

Experts believe that the virus originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, China. Because COVID-19 is not the first infectious disease to start in one of these controversial “wet markets,” conservation and health experts are now asking the World Health Organization (WHO) to force governments to permanently close these markets around the world, in hopes of preventing another pandemic.

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SOURCE: NOEL CELIS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Like COVID-19, both SARS and the bird flu (avian influenza) originated in Chinese wet markets. And according to the letter, other significant zoonotic diseases associated with wildlife include Ebola, MERS, HIV, bovine tuberculosis, rabies, and leptospirosis; additionally, zoonotic diseases are responsible for more than 2 billion cases of human illness and more than 2 million human deaths annually.

What are wet markets?

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SOURCE: EDWARD WONG/SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

Wet markets, aka live animal markets, are marketplaces where customers can select live animals from cages, who workers then slaughter on-site for customers to take home and cook.

“You’ve got live animals, so there’s feces everywhere,” Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, told the Associated Press. “There’s blood because of people chopping them up.”

How did wet markets cause the coronavirus?

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SOURCE: TEH ENG KOON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Many of these markets are unregulated, meaning it’s not uncommon to find illegally-traded animals in Wuhan’s wet market cages. The lack of regulations also means that the markets are often kept in unhygienic conditions — and with wet markets putting people in close proximity with internationally-traded animals, animal waste, and animal slaughter, bacteria and viruses can easily spread.

Who wants to shut down wet markets?

Organizations to sign the letter include Animal Legal Defense Fund, Big Cat Rescue (yes, from Tiger King), Endangered Species Coalition, various chapters of Humane Society International, the Jane Goodall Institute, PETA, Pro Wildlife, Sea Shepherd, various Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, WildAid, and more.

Other notable people who have called for a global shutdown of wet markets include Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top expert on infectious diseases and a leader of the White House’s coronavirus task force; Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, head of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity; and Jinfeng Zhou, secretary general of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation.

“I think we should shut down those things right away,” Dr. Fauci recently said of wet markets on Fox & Friends, via Politico. “It boggles my mind how, when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we don’t just shut it down.”

Coronavirus: Columbus Zoo follows pandemic plan to avoid infecting animals as happened at Bronx Zoo

After a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, local zoo officials at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said they’ll continue to follow protocols already in place to prevent the spread of the disease to both their staff and the 10,000 animals in their care.

The top animal health official at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium says its daily operations will change little, if at all, after a tiger tested positive for the new coronavirus this weekend at the Bronx Zoo.

That’s because the zoo has had protocols in place for weeks, limiting contact among staff members and animals, to help keep both groups healthy as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread in Ohio.

Veterinarians and animal keepers have divided into small teams that stagger work on site to prevent an entire crew of specialized caregivers from becoming infected. They’re also wearing masks and other protective gear to reduce the likelihood of spreading disease to the zoo’s 10,000 animals.

“We do a lot of telemedicine, phone calls, video conferences — keepers sending us pictures of things, instead of us always going out to see them,” said Randy Junge, the zoo’s vice president of animal health, who is now on zoo grounds just twice weekly.

“There are just a few people on zoo grounds, and when they’re out, everyone is wearing a mask, waving at each other from 6 feet apart.”

That has been the situation since the zoo indefinitely shuttered its doors to the public on March 16, three weeks ago.

>> This story is being provided free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find more stories on coronavirus here. Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Columbus Dispatch at subscribe.dispatch.com.

The recently confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Bronx Zoo was in a 4-year-old female Malayan tiger. Three other tigers and three African lions had developed similar mild symptoms such as a dry cough and loss of appetite but were not tested because it would have required anesthetizing the animals. All are expected to recover.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory, based in Iowa, confirmed the case, a first for the species and for any animal in the U.S.

The department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which regulates zoos, suspects an employee who was “actively shedding virus” infected the tiger, according to a statement issued Sunday.

Some people don’t experience symptoms until up to 14 days after being infected, experts say.

The Bronx Zoo, like most nationwide, had been closed to the public since mid-March.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a nonprofit group of more than 230 accredited institutions in the U.S. and abroad, including the Columbus Zoo, has advised big cat keepers to wear protective equipment, limit close interactions and use foot baths when entering or leaving a cat area.

The Columbus Zoo has had pandemic response plans for at least 20 years, said Doug Warmolts, its vice president of animal care.

“We were prepared for this, in a sense, but not to this magnitude,” he said. “Like the (COVID-19) virus in general, unfortunately a lot is still unknown.”

Though zoonotic diseases, transmitted between animals and people, may seem otherworldly to the public, for those who work in zoos, it’s a constant threat that must be prevented, Junge said.

It’s estimated that more than 60% of known infectious diseases in people can spread from animals, and that 75% of new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Examples of such diseases include rabies, salmonella, West Nile virus, Lyme disease and the H1N1 “swine flu” and H5N1 “bird flu” strains.

This has led to an approach among health professionals called “One Health” — recognizing that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment.

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Coronaviruses are known to infect mammals and birds. It’s believed that this coronavirus pandemic started with an infected horseshoe bat in China, then jumped from another species to humans at a wildlife food market, researchers say.

Early research has indicated that cats and ferrets are susceptible, Junge said, citing a preliminary study out of China, where researchers forced high concentrations of the virus into the animals. Other animals, such as dogs, were not considered at risk.

It’s always assumed that primates can catch human diseases because they share a similar genetic makeup, Junge said. During flu season, their keepers always wear masks and protective gear.

“That’s why they get their flu shots in the fall, just like us,” Junge explained.

The recent developments shouldn’t be a cause for panic among cat and ferret owners, experts say.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in U.S. pets, and there is no evidence that any humans have been infected by animals beyond the initial cases in China, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nevertheless, the department and the American Veterinary Medical Association are advising people with COVID-19 infections to avoid contact with animals, including pets, out of “an abundance of caution.”

Owners who suspect their pets may be infected should talk to their veterinarians.

If a cat has no exposure to the outdoors, you’re more likely to infect it, not the other way around, Junge said.

Those who work in animal welfare say they’re already concerned about pets being surrendered or dumped as families struggle with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rachel Finney, CEO of Columbus Humane, said the Northwest Side shelter hasn’t experienced an influx of people surrendering their pets, but it is a concern. The nonprofit agency has plans ready to distribute food and supplies to owners in need.

“The very best thing people can do is keep their pets with them at home,” Finney said.

She also advised owners to plan in advance for their pets’ care in the event they are no longer able to look after them, such as during an extended hospitalization.

Grant to increase public waterfowl hunting opportunities in Arkansas

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

LITTLE ROCK — Duck hunters looking for publicly available opportunities this fall will have even more options to enjoy The Natural State’s calling card. The Arkansas Waterfowl Rice Incentive Conservation Enhancement program was awarded a grant to expand, keeping food on the ground for ducks and opening doors for hunters.

The grant, from the National Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, will boost the program to the tune of $2.1 million, distributed during the next three years.

During its first year of public access opportunity, the pilot program operated on a budget of $125,000. With that money, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was able to provide access to 11 hunting fields through a weekend draw program during the 2019-20 season. With the federal grant, that access may increase to more than 50 private fields available to hunters…

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Spring turkey hunting season going on as planned

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

Posted: 1:23 PM, Apr 07, 2020
Updated: 11:23 AM, Apr 07, 2020

WISCONSIN — The ‘Safer at Home’ order lists outdoor activities as essential, which means that the 2020 Spring Turkey Season will proceed without changes to the season dates or management zones.

That being said. the hunting season will begin on its original date of April 15

Due to COVID-19, hunters should still practice social distancing and remain 6-feet apart from others.

All current regulations for the season apply. Licensed hunters should hunt the zone and period stated on their harvest authorization.

“Hunting and fishing provides us an opportunity in interact with nature. Hunting and fishing traditions run deep in Wisconsin,” said…

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Today’s mix on Morning Joe: Wildlife markets, factory farms and the COVID-19 crisis

April 6, 2020 0 Comments

I appeared today on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to speak about the COVID-19 crisis and wildlife markets with Humane Society International’s Peter Li and our colleague Gene Baur of Farm Sanctuary. Together, we made the case for an immediate end to wildlife markets all over the world, and described the filth, cruelty, lawlessness and pandemic risk that make these markets so wrong for the twenty-first century. Peter, a professor of political science at the University of Houston, grew up in China, and has seen these markets at first hand. And Gene, a pioneering figure in American farm animal protection work, reminded the audience that humanity’s massive factory farms represent a public health threat that is also deserving of our scrutiny in the current hour. While the COVID-19 pandemic resulted from a wildlife market and the global wildlife trade, the worldwide intensive confinement of farm animals—particularly chickens and pigs—has allowed viruses such as bird flu to multiply and mutate into contagious and deadly forms.

We’re in increasingly good company in our indictment of wildlife markets and other points of vulnerability. Last week, Anthony Fauci weighed in powerfully on the subject, while today, in an interview published in the Guardian, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema of the United Nations Environment Program, who is the active executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, supported the closure of such markets, too. I appreciated Mrema’s attempt to draw a big-picture perspective, one that resonates deeply with our work at the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International.

Like Mrema, Peter, Gene and I were trying to get across a simple but deeply urgent precept, that we need a new conception of our relationship with the non-human, whether it is the animals with whom we share this world, or the natural habitat and wild spaces that sustain all life on the planet.

In the current crisis, we’re doing all that we can to support those seeking to help animals. We’re making grants to local societies working under duress, thanks to the generosity of the Lewyt Foundation and other friends. We’re arranging for the purchase and shipment of needed pet food and supplies to remote communities like those in western Alaska and supporting direct care and services through our Pets for Life program and through Remote Animal Veterinary Services. We’re providing needed resources for keeping animals safe during the pandemic, both for the animal sheltering sector and for the general public. We’re supporting our own animal care facilities in their essential operations. We’re pressing for the inclusion of animals in the formulation and implementation of COVID-19 Response Orders. And we’re pushing hard on our public policy goals concerning live animal marketswildlife trade and trafficking, and related issues.

If you are involved as a donor or friend of the HSUS and its affiliates in this critical time, you have a right to see us fully visible and engaged in the work of helping animals. And you will. We’re giving it everything we’ve got, and we’re doing so with the resources, the energy and the dedication to mission that your commitment and support make possible.

‘Enough Is Enough’ Pro-Vegan Puzzle Is on Its Way to Bill Gates

Amid Efforts to Curb and Cure COVID-19, PETA Gift Aims to Help Philanthropic Puzzle Enthusiast Piece Together How Vital It Is to End Meat Consumption

For Immediate Release:
April 6, 2020

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Seattle – Bill Gates is helping to lead the fight against COVID-19, so PETA is sending the known puzzle aficionado a special gift: a customized jigsaw puzzle that spells out the link between deadly pandemics and killing animals for food—as well as a note urging him to address the source of the plague and encourage everyone to go vegan.

“Preventing the next pandemic means shutting down filthy live-animal markets, slaughterhouses, and factory farms, where pathogens that cross the species barrier thrive,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Social distancing is good, but PETA is urging Bill Gates to help combat this threat at the source by advocating for a vegan world.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recent infectious diseases affecting humans began in animals.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Gates follows.

April 6, 2020

Bill Gates

Co-Chair and Trustee

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dear Mr. Gates,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), including our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, in response to your call for a nationwide shutdown to help stop the spread of COVID-19 as well as to news reports that you are funding a vaccine. We applaud your efforts to help combat this global pandemic. Also, knowing that you enjoy puzzles, we’ll be sending you one with an important reminder: From swine flu and Ebola to bird flu and coronaviruses, the public health risks associated with the consumption of animals are growing.

While social distancing, sheltering in place, and racing to find a vaccine are all important factors in containing COVID-19, it is urgent to address the source of the problem. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases in humans began in animals. SARS, which originated in bats, claimed 774 lives. Swine flu, or H1N1—which originated in pigs—killed as many as 575,400 people. And the COVID-19 death toll has already surpassed 70,000.

Zoonotic diseases aren’t limited to a single country or to wet markets—wherever animals are bred, intensively confined in their own filth, and slaughtered, humans risk creating another pandemic. In a paper published in 2018, Belgian spatial epidemiologist Marius Gilbert found that more “conversion events” for bird flu—in which a not very pathogenic strain of the virus becomes more dangerous—had occurred in the U.S., Europe, and Australia than in China, where it originated.

Now, while the world is battling the current pandemic—which originated in a wet market—it’s clear that what our puzzle points out is true: Enough is enough.

As the world faces unprecedented losses of many kinds because of COVID-19, how to make our planet a kinder, greener, healthier place is a puzzle that’s easily solved. We hope you will focus on the big picture: The fetish for flesh is killing us, and a vegan world must become the new normal. We encourage you to call for this change. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

President

The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Exposing the Plague of Neoliberalism

The Extinction Chronicles

The current coronavirus pandemic is more than a medical crisis, it is also a political and ideological crisis. It is a crisis deeply rooted in years of neglect by neoliberal governments that denied the importance of public health and the public good while defunding the institutions that made them possible. At the same time, this crisis cannot be separated from the crisis of massive inequalities in wealth, income and power. Nor can it be separated from a crisis of democratic values, education and environmental destruction.

The coronavirus pandemic is deeply interconnected with the politicization of the natural order through its destructive…

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The COVID-19 Outbreak Has Enabled Trump to Advance His Right-Wing Agenda

The COVID-19 Outbreak Has Enabled Trump to Advance His Right-Wing Agenda

g the fiddle that was labeled “My next piece is called: nothing can stop what’s coming.” It was clearly an homage to the Emperor Nero who so infamously made music while Rome burned. To it, the president added this comment: “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!”

Whether Trump is fiddling these days or not, one thing is certain: in a Nero-like fashion, he continues to be irresponsibly unresponsive to the crisis caused by Covid-19. One reason may be that, however inadvertently, the arrival of the pandemic has helped green-light plans and projects he’s held dear to his heart and that had, before the crisis, repeatedly encountered opposition.

Here are six examples of how the coronavirus, like a malign magic wand, has helped cast a disempowering spell over that opposition and so furthered Trump’s long-term goals.

In his persistent determination to close the border and punish migrants and asylum seekers alike, Trump has long allied with the Department of Justice to clear a path for his policies. Attorney General William Barr’s department has, for instance, fought battle after battle to counter legal challenges to the prolonged detention of both migrants and asylum seekers, to prevent aid to sanctuary cities that offer protection to such migrants, to overrule Board of Immigration Appeals decisions, and to withhold bail from detained asylum seekers. Until the coronavirus pandemic hit, however, the courts had increasingly been blocking some of these policies or putting them on hold.

Now, although judges, lawyers, and legal organizations have urged that immigration courts be closed until the pandemic lifts, they have generally remained open even, in some cases, after people in them had tested positive for the virus. The danger, not to say inhumanity, of all this, should be undeniable, but it does reflect President Trump’s ongoing immigration urges.

In addition, the administration has doubled down on an existing policy of denying medical services to detained immigrants. This past winter, for instance, doctors were prevented from delivering flu vaccines to those in immigration detention camps. Now, with more than 37,000 men, women, and children confined, the dangers of the virus spreading among them are obvious and inevitable. As a former acting director of ICE puts it, the crowded conditions of detention, “which are designed to have people remain in close contact,” are “the opposite of the social distancing that is needed to save lives.”

2. The Census: The census has long been a source of contention for this president. He waged a campaign to exclude non-citizens from participating in it only to be stalled in his efforts by the justices of the Supreme Court who decided that they needed more information to make a final decision on the subject. The issue at hand is that census results are used to determine how many congressional seats (based on population) are to be given to each state. If immigrants, both legal and undocumented, are not counted — and estimates are that roughly 6.5 million people fall into those two categories — then fewer politicians and less federal funding will be distributed to areas with more sizeable populations of them.

Originally, Trump responded to the Supreme Court’s decision by advocating that the census simply be put off. Eventually, the administration backed down and the census was not delayed. Now, however, the sands have shifted. Covid-19 has turned the largely door-to-door gathering of census information into so many online, phone, and mail responses. The consequences of an inaccurate census could indeed prove dire. As National Public Radio’s Hansi Lo Wang reported, citing data collected by the Urban Institute, the 2020 census could result in “the worst undercount of black and Latino and Latina people in the U.S. since 1990.” According to one local San Francisco paper, “If the Census count is artificially low, the ramifications in this and every city will be real. It is estimated that each undercounted person costs his or her municipality $2,000 in federal resources.” Funding for public schools would reportedly be severely hit by such cuts in federal funding.

3. Global Conflicts: In his three years in office, Trump has escalated tensions with numerous powers, China and Iran in particular. In the period leading up to the global spread of the virus, China had already taken on special enemy status. In January, the president imposed yet more tariffs on that country’s products while sanctions on $370 billion worth of Chinese imports were left in place even though his administration claimed to have successfully concluded what he called “phase one” of a future trade deal.

Now, he’s labelled Covid-19 the “Chinese virus,” using that label to escalate tensions with China (and provoke a xenophobic backlash here at home). He recently mentioned a friendly hour-long conversation with that country’s president, Xi Jinping, about combatting the virus. But while reportedly preparing temporary relief when it comes to tariffs generally, Chinese imports are expected to be exempted from the proposed pause in payments.

So, too, the virus has been used to escalate tensions with Iran. Trump had already increased the drumbeat to war with that country by ordering the drone assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq, leading to retaliatory missile strikes on U.S. military bases in that country.

Congress then passed a law aimed at preventing the president from further attacks on Iran without its approval. Nevertheless, in the early days of the devastating spread of the pandemic in Iran, the Trump administration launched several attacks on pro-Iranian militias in Iraq and continued to uphold its economic sanctions on Iran itself. And there are reports of more to come from his administration.

4. Isolationism: Since the onset of his presidency, Trump has sought to separate the U.S. from allies and diminish its participation in international treaties and agreements of all sorts. He, for instance, withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran and announced his intention to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. As if to put a fine point on his disapproval of global engagement, there has also been a wholesale reduction in the size of the State Department in his years in office. A hiring freeze from the spring of 2017 to the spring of 2018 was reinforced by recommendations from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his successor, Mike Pompeo, which reduced the State Department’s operating budget by one-third, while many key ambassadorships went unfilled. Today, 13% of them remain vacant.

The spread of the coronavirus gave that urge new oomph. In the post-Covid world, the America First-style isolationism that Trump values has become even more emphatically the name of the game. The border with Canada is now closed. He’s banned travel from European countries. Visa offices are shut worldwide. Using the virus as its excuse, the State Department has even halted indefinitely the addition of a new class of 179 foreign-service officers to the diplomatic corps. During the Covid-19 outbreak, American disengagement from the world has taken another step forward.

5. Prosecutions: The coronavirus has also put on hold an array of investigations into the president’s personal and professional dealings. As of March 16th, the Supreme Court closed its doors to the public and postponed oral arguments in pending cases. It is now operating in remote capacity. This means a Supreme Court argument scheduled for this session about whether New York prosecutors and the House of Representatives can have access to the president’s financial records will not take place in the foreseeable future. In addition to their subpoenaing his financial records, New York prosecutors launched multiple investigations last spring into the president’s businesses, some of which continue to this day. Recently, Trump called upon Governor Andrew Cuomo and state District Attorney Letitia James to “stop” all of their state’s “unnecessary lawsuits & harassment.” Now, he may get his wish as the state courts, like the federal courts, are proceeding with reduced speed, staff, and activities.

Meanwhile, inquiries into Trump’s political misdeeds have also been put on hold due to the pandemic. Attorney General Barr, for instance, had been called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee at the end of March. It would have been his first appearance before that committee. Now, however, Congress has adjourned. As its chairman, Jerrold Nadler, explained as March ended, Barr was to have faced questioning about “the misuse of our criminal justice system for political purposes” — specifically, “a pattern of conduct in legal matters… that raises significant concerns,” including interference in the prosecutions of Trump Deputy Campaign Manager Rick Gates, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, and long-time associate Roger Stone. Bottom line, the investigations and proceedings against Trump, personal and presidential, are on hold for the foreseeable future.

6. Rigged Elections: Trump has long cast doubts on the viability of presidential elections. As the 2016 campaign played out, for instance, he was already expressing his fears of a “rigged election.” He accused the media of misreporting and twisting the preferences of voters in support of Hillary Clinton, while later claiming her campaign had meddled in the election process. The 2018 election only brought a further sense of distrust to the proceedings, as accusations of voter fraud, voting machine malfunctions, and voter suppression marred the process in states like Florida and Georgia. The result: the groundwork has been laid for ever greater distrust of such elections even though they are the sine qua non of a functioning democracy.

Now, the future of the November presidential election is uncertain owing to Covid-19. As numerous pundits and experts have reminded us, the social distancing necessary to halt the spread of the virus has called into question the logistics of normal voting and even the future viability of a full and fair election in November. Already primaries have been delayed, and expectations of turnout have diminished. Even in some of those that did take place in March, turnout was clearly diminished. Moreover, it was difficult to find people willing to staff polling places and sign in the thousands of voters who would ordinarily pass through on primary day. Solutions like balloting by mail have been proposed, but the ability of Trump and others to challenge the results have undeniably grown in the wake of the virus’s spread across the nation.

With some of his long-stymied plans now falling into place as the devastating pandemic hits, how telling of the president to tweet a picture of himself as Nero, as he delays or refuses to provide adequate amounts of medical supplies from reaching needy states. In unsettling ways, the crisis is working for him as previously untenable policy options are becoming essential to curtailing the coronavirus.

Whether it comes to air travel, the courts, the census, or the voting booth, keeping people apart and grounded makes perfect sense right now, but all of this is also providing dangerous opportunities for the president. Once past this crisis, it will be crucial for Americans to remind one another of the fundamentals of a secure democracy in which respect for immigrants, the desire for peace, election safeguards, and a respect for internationalism can be allowed to thrive even in times of turmoil. Otherwise, Covid-19 could usher in the ultimate success of Donald Trump’s destructive agenda.

Ban live wild animal meat markets

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting Blog

Emily Beament
| 7th April 2020
Hundreds of wildlife groups worldwide sign open letter to WHO calling for a
ban on wildlife meat trade to stop future potential global pandemics.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) should recommend governments shut down
wild animal markets to prevent future pandemics, conservationists have said.

More than 200 wildlife groups across the world have signed an open letter
calling on WHO to do all it can to prevent new diseases emerging from the
wildlife trade and spreading into global pandemics.

The evidence suggests Covid-19 has animal origins, likely from bats, and may
have come from “wet markets” where live and dead creatures are sold for
eating, leading to a temporary ban on the markets by the Chinese government.

Health

Previous global epidemics including severe acute respiratory syndrome
(Sars) and Ebola have also been linked to viruses that spread from animals
to people.

The letter calls…

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Coronavirus: Officials urge LA County residents to skip grocery shopping, stay home this week

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Officials are advising all residents of Los Angeles County to stay home this week, which they are calling critical in the widespread efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

At a Monday afternoon press conference, county public health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said people should try not leave their homes for groceries or medications, but should instead arrange for them to be delivered, if necessary.

“If you have enough supplies in your home, this would be the week to skip shopping altogether,” she said.

The recommendation comes as the number of cases across L.A. County topped 6,000. The county’s death toll now stands at 147.

Officials are advising all residents of Los Angeles County to stay home this week, which they are calling critical in the widespread efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Those venturing out to the stores will soon see some major changes to keep customers and employees safe.

Many stores are already enforcing physical distancing and limiting the number of people allowed in at a time.

Ralphs is limiting the amount of shoppers allowed inside to 50% capacity to allow for improved physical distancing.

One-way aisles are also being implemented by many chains, like Vons.

Walmart was the first to announce the new measure aimed at helping customers keep their distance. Vons says it is also joining the effort.

Shoppers are taking the opportunity to take one last trip to the store before hunkering down at home.

“We went back and forth, me and my sister, about whether to come out or not. We’re gonna stay in for two weeks, so we decided to make one last (trip.) We’re almost out of water,” Studio City resident Kina Cosper said. “We’re here and then we’re like done for two weeks.”

Ralphs, which is owned by Kroger, has installed plexiglass at checkout lines. The chain is also encouraging employees to wear face masks and gloves.

Globally, the number of people dying appeared to be slowing in New York City, Spain and Italy. The news was cautiously welcomed by leaders, who also noted that any gains could easily be reversed if people did not continue to adhere to strict lockdowns.

The U.S. is still awaiting the peak, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams offered a stark warning about the expected wave of virus deaths.
“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”