The coronavirus likely came from China’s wet markets. They’re reopening anyway (Vox)

Should wet markets be banned? It’s more complicated than it seems.

The consensus among scientists who specialize in emerging infectious diseases is that the novel coronavirus jumped from animals to humans atone of China’s wet markets, places wherelive animals are often slaughtered and sold for human consumption — including, in some cases, wildlife like bats and pangolins.

After the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease, China temporarily closed down the wet markets. In February, it also banned the sale of wildlife for consumption, making it illegal to sell wild animals (but not common live animals such as chickens or fish) as food.

Now, the country is reopening some of its wet markets — even as the global uproar over them is reaching a crescendo. Although the ban on selling wildlife remains in effect at the markets, the move is still controversial, anda growing chorus of experts is calling for a permanent ban on the markets in China and beyond.

“I think we should shut down those things right away,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said of wet markets in an April 3 television interview. “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.”

The United Nations’ biodiversity chief, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, shared that perspective…

But the campaign to shut down these markets is more complicated than it seems. Part of the problem is one of definition. China has some open-air markets that sell only slaughtered animals and produce; some that sell commonly eaten live animals like chickens; and some that sell wild animals like bats.

Many people conflate all these under the heading “wet market.” But there are gradations here, and they represent different levels of risk…

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