It’s crucial we don’t misrepresent the data we have so far around COV-19
It matters for animals that we understand how the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world.
It matters for animals that the language we use to discuss and explain these facts is clear, accurate and does not create confusion. It’s already too easy for those who wish to continue to exploit animals to dismiss our words and actions.
So let’s not make those mistakes with COVID-19 – and counter them wherever we find them.
We know from past pandemics that the majority of coronaviruses such as COVID-19, SARS and MERS jumped from animals to humans, possibly via an intermediary animal host, and typically through places where animals are exploited for food. We’ll talk more about these below.
Beyond this indisputable fact that, as a zoonotic virus, COVID-19 is a result of human contact with other animals, epidemiologists are seeking to establish precisely where, when and how the virus came to be.
We are told that it most likely originated at a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan, China, where it spread from an animal to a human, and in doing so mutated from a strictly non-human virus into an adapted zoonotic virus that can spread from humans to humans (and, it now appears, from humans to other kinds of animals).