Coronavirus Spread-How are humans responsible?

Globalisation, Urbanisation, faster travel and communication, dependance on antibiotics and Shoving them into animals and plants to increase product yield, etc. are what has eventually led to outbreaks like Coronavirus.(Relevant for General Studies Paper 1 CSE Mains)

  • The new coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV, has done to the Chinese economy what US President Donald Trump could not do.It has wreaked havoc in the world’s second largest economy; grinding it to a halt; shutting down its cities and, isolating its people.
  • In the case of SARS, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that the civet cat, raccoon dog and badger were the most likely intermediate hosts. In the case of MERS, the camel was the intermediate host.
  • The route of 2019-nCoV ( Coronavirus ) is not yet clear-the local market, which is seen to be the source of the outbreak, does not sell bats, it is said. But even as scientists work out the details, the fact is that we are beginning to see more zoonotic diseases from swine flu to avian influenza. These are diseases that are getting transferred from animals to humans, triggering a pandemic.
  • Dystopian relationship of humans with the natural world is partly to be blamed for spread of diseases like Coronavirus. On the one hand, we are pushing every kind of chemical and toxin into our food. This is making food a source of disease, not just nutrition.
  • Antibiotics are being shoved into animals and even crops-not for disease control but to make them grow more; put on weight, so that business profits. As a result, resistance to drugs needed for human survival is on the rise.
  • On the other, we are growing our food in ways that favour disease growth-industrial farms, which are vertically integrated, are fast becoming the source of contagion.Remember the origin of swine flu from industrial hog factories in Mexico that contaminated water. . 
  • This breaking of the boundaries between animal and human habitats will lead to more such outbreaks. And this, in a world that is even more inter-connected and globalised, will make the infection widely contagious. The fact is global vulnerability will increase-from disease to climate change.
  • The risk management systems of the poor should teach us that diversification is the key to survival. The farmers of our world always minimised risk through a system of crop and livestock management. They grew a variety crops-scientists have counted over 50 crops growing in single homesteads. They reduced dependence on the factors that they could not control, but worked on ways to build more resilient local economies,
  • Now,  we cannot turn back the clock of globalisation; we cannot wish away this monster world trade system. It is profitable and it is aspirational-everybody wants to be integrated to the world supply chain. But surely, given the almost certain socks that await us in our world, it is time we re-thought the very idea of globalisation. Let’s start by working on localisation first. But,although Globalisation, technology and climate change make the spread of viral disease easier and incubate many other social and economic ills. Lurching headlong into a protectionist and luddite world will not provide adequate and lasting solutions


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