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COVID-19 Pandemic: What is to blame?

On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day our mastery over the earth and its species has earned us something quite different than we were expecting.

How did this happen? A bat in China bites a wildlife animal? Sells at a market. Infects someone. Pandemic.

“In any case, researchers agree that the coronavirus jumped from an animal to a human, a phenomenon known as "zoonotic spillover."

As we struggle to meet this pandemic we must not ignore this “spillover” factor and what caused it. We defend human rights but what of the rights of Nature, wild animals, natural habitats and our surrounding environment?

In a Lancet Journal article experts cited, “...scientific evidence that support the theory that "overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens”. It is not surprising then that a UC Davis study of animal species that host viruses known to infect humans found, “The exploitation of wildlife increases the risk of animal viruses infecting people, potentially sparking outbreaks like the Covid-19 pandemic…”

The Davis study added, “… Animals threatened with extinction by human degradation of their habitat, or through hunting and the wildlife trade, hosted twice as many viruses known to infect people, compared with species threatened for other reasons, the researchers found.”

For centuries we have pushed at the natural world to fulfill our desires and economic needs; endeavours we praise as advancements, honor as accomplishments, elevate as progress and see emulated around the world.

“Spillover of viruses from animals is a direct result of our actions involving wildlife and their habitat …The consequence is they’re sharing their viruses with us. These actions simultaneously threaten species’ survival and increase the risk of spillover. In an unfortunate convergence of many factors, this brings about the kind of mess we’re in now.” says Christine Kreuder Johnson, lead author and director of the EpiCentre for Disease Dynamics, One Health Institute, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

The economic result from that wheel of fortune that crushes our global environment daily is now painfully evident in another “spillover” factor -- the 22 million jobs lost in the USA over the last four weeks.

This Earth Day, above all else, we must not fail to recognize and address the reality that it is our dysfunctional relationship with Nature and our environment that is the root cause of this collapse of our health and economy. To move forward we must set an effective example as individuals and as a nation regarding how we interact with Nature and how we partner with it to fulfill our lives and fuel our economic needs.

This virus is now global and is forcefully showing us that we really must have a global strategy toward our relationship with Nature if we are to prevent a more destructive virus from evolving.

There is an old song lyric that says, “It’s Nature's way of telling you, something’s wrong”. It’s telling us. We need to listen and act.

Bernard Re, Jr.
North Canaan Connecticut USA
April 17, 2020


  1. Source: How did coronavirus break out? Theories abound as researchers race to solve genetic detective story
    By Robert Kuznia and Drew Griffin, CNN
    Updated 5:34 PM ET, Mon April 6, 2020

  2. Source: Human pressure on wildlife increases risk of diseases like Covid-19, study finds
    By Simone McCarthy
    Published: 12:00pm, 10 Apr, 2020


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