Coronavirus: a cultural escape goat or the next Big Five

coronavirus be

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Guilherme Wandall, currently in the fourth semester of medicine at FURB in Brazil. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Along humankind history, there were five major events relating to major extinctions: The Big Five, as known in the academic vernacular, were moments in which life on earth was on the brink of closure, evident by the loss of fossil record of the majority of living species (1). Although, the last big purges are associated with environmental changes, the next one may be related to a lack of proper health habits from large populations.

Reports of the outbreak of coronavirus started in the beginning of 2020, when the Chinese population of Wuhan started suffering the affects of the circulation of the virus by transmission of the pathogenic agent by the air (2). Soon enough, Wuhan had eyes from all around the globe from day to night, questioning about the health of its population.

At the start, the main goal was to contain the spread of the virus: flights were cancelled, masks were distributed, China had become the most dangerous place on earth in 2020. Naturally, the thought of an imminent extinction, the next Big Five, was enough motivation to kickstart the development of vaccines and treatment. But others didn’t find enough resolution in that, because they felt that China needed to be responsible for this outbreak.

Similar to the Ebola crisis by the end of 2013 (3), the consumption of animals -manly bats- is focused to be a possible benchmark for the disaster (4). Whoever, solid proof of including certain animals as a part of someone’s diet being the cause of these viruses doesn’t come to daylight. In this context, the circulation of intel accusing the cultural meal plan as the source of the potential Big Sixth is just an excuse for defamation of the culture in Wuhan.

Making another parallel to Africa’s Ebola situation, while the public awareness raises capital for the management of a cure, there’s collateral damage being done to the way the world perceives the host of these diseases. As an example, Canada and the US have a clear a dichotomy when handling this scenario: while Canada doesn’t impose travel restrictions, the US creates a state of fear on its population by closing flights (5).

The fear of the next big extinction being used as an excuse to create mythos about the culture of China is fully encapsulated on the viral video of a Chinese woman eating bat soup (6). There’s close to zero information validating the video, with backlash from the people of Wuhan clamming the lack of correlation between the virus and bat soup (7).

In conclusion, the coronavirus needs constant vigilance from the world in order to have a proper closure, vaccines and cures may seem farfetched, but the mutual interest worldwide is reassuring to at least some progress to be made. Nonetheless, the use of fear as a means to cause hostility toward the culture of the virus host, and even creating myths about it, is a complete antithesis to the previous point.

References

  1. Murca JAIME. The big five mass extinctions [Internet]. Cosmos; 2018 Feb 15 [cited 2020 Feb 9]. Available from: https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/big-five-extinctions
  2. Wetsman Nicole. Everything you need to know about the coronavirus from China [Internet]. THE VERGE; 2020 Jan 30 [cited 2020 Feb 9]. Available from: https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/23/21078457/coronavirus-outbreak-china-wuhan-quarantine-who-sars-cdc-symptoms-risk
  3. Coltart, C. E., Lindsey, B., Ghinai, I., Johnson, A. M., & Heymann, D. L. (2017). The Ebola outbreak, 2013-2016: old lessons for new epidemics. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences372(1721), 20160297. doi:10.1098/rstb.2016.0297
  4. De Nys, H. M., Kingebeni, P., Keita, A. K., Butel, C., Thaurignac, G., Villabona-Arenas, C….Peeters, M. (2018). Survey of Ebola Viruses in Frugivorous and Insectivorous Bats in Guinea, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2015–2017. Emerging Infectious Diseases24(12), 2228-2240. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2412.180740.
  5. Coronavirus: China says U.S. action ‘spreading fear’ as mainland death toll hits 361 [Internet]. Politico; 2020 Mar 02 [cited 2020 Feb 9]. Available from: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/03/coronavirus-china-says-us-action-spreading-fear-as-mainland-death-toll-hits-361-110456
  6. Is bat soup a delicacy in China? We debunk a rumour on the origin of the coronavirus [Internet]. The Observers; 2020 Mar 02 [cited 2020 Feb 9]. Available from: https://observers.france24.com/en/20200203-china-coronavirus-bat-soup-debunk-videos-viral-palau-indonesia
  7. Palmer James. Don’t Blame Bat Soup for the Wuhan Virus [Internet]. Foreign Policy; 2020 Jan 27 [cited 2020 Feb 9]. Available from: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/27/dont-blame-bat-soup-f

About the author

Guilherme Wandall is currently in the fourth semester of medicine at FURB in Brazil. He
discovered IFMSA in a symposium, and since then, he’s decided to partake in the projects available to extend his curriculum and for their well spirited nature. Being a college student in the first year of medicine make him feel disconnected from the rest of the world, since most of the work revolves around theory and understanding the basics. A chance to discuss contemporary events is a necessary breath of fresh air.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Telemedicine can be a COVID-19 game-changer. Here’s how

EU Commission challenges Berlin by proposing breakthrough legislation on banks

Stop violence against women: Statement by the European Commission and the High Representative

US migrant children policy reversal, still ‘fails’ thousands of detained youngsters: UN rights experts

From drought to floods in Somalia; displacement and hunger worsen, says UN

Take care of your borders and then expand them

Brexit effect: Public opinion survey shows that EU is more appreciated than ever

Medical education during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19: Commission provides guidance on EU passenger rights

This is how rice is hurting the planet

Is the world up to the challenge of mass COVID-19 vaccination?

How private investment can boost education access and quality in the digital economy

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

A 3-step path to securing critical infrastructure

Global economy to see ‘steady’ growth of three per cent in 2019 despite risks, says UN

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

“I believe that startups are for grown-up men, those, who have already achieved something “

Climate change is speeding up. Our response needs to be even faster

‘Alarmingly high’ number of children malnourished worldwide: UNICEF report

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

EU Council: Private web data to be protected by…abusers

Nuclear non-proliferation treaty an ‘essential pillar’ of international peace, says UN chief

For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

The UN has a 17-point plan to save the world. So how’s it doing?

EU budget talks: Council rejects Parliament’s breakthrough proposal

‘Think beyond farm jobs’ to reach sustainable development, UN agriculture chief advises African youth

China greenlights first underwater high-speed railway

Indoor air pollution is deadly. Here’s an unconventional solution

UN human rights office urges Egypt to immediately release detained protestors

Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights: the role of medical students

Here’s how retailers can encourage more sustainable behaviour

Commission statement on the European Remembrance Day for Victims of Terrorism

The price of centralization of human resources for health

From the boardroom to the consulting room: pharma’s role in curing gender bias

Central African Republic: UNICEF outlines key actions so fresh peace deal can make real difference for children

Draghi indirectly accuses Germany of using double standards in financial issues

UN chief welcomes ‘first concrete step’ in normalizing Eritrea-Ethiopia relationship

Syria: A bloody tracer of Trump – Putin rapprochement

3 charts that show the economics of European football

Is China about to launch its own cryptocurrency?

Disaster Medicine in Medical Education: the investment you just can´t afford to ignore

How Kolkata is tackling its air pollution with public transportation

ECB intervenes to clean May’s and Schäuble’s mess

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: violence surges in Nigeria, anti-Semitism on the march, taxing pollution to tackle climate crisis, and more

Link between conflict and hunger worldwide, ‘all too persistent and deadly’, says new UN report

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

ECB to people: Not responsible if you lose money on Bitcoin, your governments are

Gynecologic care in the 21st century

The eighth round of TTIP negotiations concludes in Brussels amid scepticism and new fears

This US city sends mental health workers instead of police to non-criminal emergency calls

Advocate General ‘outlaws’ Data Retention Directive

EU budget: Making the EU fit for its role as strong global actor

Climate Change Revolution: by-laws for the world

Fair completion rules and the law of gravity don’t apply to banks

UN envoy says he ‘is ready to go to Idlib’ to help ensure civilian safety amid rising fears of government offensive

Longer hours, more emails and shorter meetings – working from home in the time of COVID

As north-west Syria violence reaches ‘horrifying’ new level, UN relief chief says ceasefire is only option

Food for millions in Yemen at risk of rotting in key Red Sea port, warns UN

The fatal consequences of troika’s blind austerity policy

Mandatory Transparency Register: political meeting to restart negotiations

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s