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White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday that all of China’s wet markets should be closed immediately in light of the pandemic that is ravaging much of the world.
“It bothers my mind, when we have so many illnesses that emanate from this unusual human-animal interface, that we just don’t shut it down,” Fauci told Fox & Friends.
“I don’t know what else has to happen to make us appreciate this,” said Fauci.
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While rumors have circulated that the virus originated from bats and then infected another animal that transmitted it to people at a market in the city of Wuhan in southeast China, scientists have not not yet determined exactly how the new coronavirus infected people. But these types of markets are not known to operate under the most sanitary conditions.
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“You have live animals, so there is excrement everywhere. There is blood because of the people who cut them, “Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance, which works to protect wildlife and public health from emerging diseases, told The Associated Press last month.
Huanan’s wholesale seafood market in Wuhan, before it closed, featured dozens of species such as giant salamanders, baby crocodiles and raccoon dogs that were often called wild animals, even when raised. The Chinese government has reportedly authorized the reopening of some of the country’s wet markets while the threat of contagion has diminished, although that of Wuhan remains closed.
Fauci said other countries should speak out against unsanitary sales of wild animals.
“In other countries where this is common, I would like the rest of the world to really put great pressure on the countries which have it because what we are going through right now is the direct result”, he said.
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Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., On Thursday sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador urging him to pressure his government against the reopening of markets.
“It is well documented that wet markets in China have been responsible for a number of health problems around the world,” said Graham in his letter, “and their operation should stop immediately. “
Fox News Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.