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And why COVID-19 was bound to happen.

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As of early March 2020, a new coronavirus, called COVID-19, is in more than 70 countries and has killed more than 3,100 people, the vast majority in China. That’s where the virus emerged back in December 2019. This isn’t a new phenomenon for China; in 2003, the SARS virus also emerged there, and under similar circumstances, before spreading around the world and killing nearly 800.

Both SARS and COVID-19 are in the “coronavirus” family, and both appear to have emerged from animals in China’s notorious wildlife markets. Experts had long predicted that these markets, known to be potential sources of disease, would enable another outbreak. The markets, and the wildlife trade that supports them, are the underlying problem of these pandemics; until China solves that problem, more are likely to emerge.

Follow our reporting on coronavirus on vox.com:
Our updated guide to Covid-19: http://bit.ly/3cGvqpU
11 questions about the coronavirus outbreak, answered: http://bit.ly/3cHFSgT
Why washing your hands is so important: http://bit.ly/39vOaGy

Watch our Netflix episode “The next pandemic, explained” https://www.netflix.com/watch/81062202

Further reading:
Peter Li: https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/…
Peter Daszak, EcoAlliance: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/28/sc…
WildAid: https://wildaid.org/chinese-citizens-…
On the animal source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d4158…

Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what’s really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com.

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