Wet markets across Asia

Staff writer Olivia Zeigler explains the culture of wet markets.

In the last couple of months, the coronavirus pandemic has taken over the world. This virus spreads by close contact with other people that carry the disease. According to CNN, more than 3.16 million people have contracted the virus, and there have been over 220,000 deaths worldwide. Medical professionals do not know exactly how the virus started, but there are many theories.

One theory is that a man in Wuhan, China ate a bat that he bought from a wet market in late 2019. Many people believe this claim because China was the first country to get hit with the virus and was the first to go on lockdown. According to ABC News, “though the first outbreak was detected at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, the exact origin of COVID-19 is still unconfirmed.”

“It is a possibility that wet markets increased the spread of the virus, and they could potentially be the place that the virus started,” said Annika Beishline, a sophomore.

Wet markets are places that offer a wide range of fresh produce. Some of these markets also sell live animals on site.

“Wet markets are like farmer’s markets, but they sell lots of exotic animals,” said Maddie Peglowski, a sophomore.

Wet markets sell meat and produce, which oppose dry markets that sell non-perishable goods such as electronics, household products, and grains. These markets are coined with the term ‘wet’ because of liquid all over the markets’ which includes water from fish splashing in their tanks, blood that drips from the countertops, and ice that melts from bins of chilled meat.

They are considered dangerous because of the possibility of spreading diseases and viruses.The media is urging a ban on all wet markets because of the possibility of starting a new pandemic.

There are many dangers of keeping live animals in these markets because they pose a threat for future diseases and viruses. These diseases can spread from animals to humans due the possible unsanitary practices and if the markets have rare or wild animals for sale. According to Fox News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that all of China’s wet markets should be shut down immediately because of the potential risks of spreading the virus.

Wet markets have had many experiences with diseases and now, the impact of the coronavirus may force the closure of these types of markets in the future.

Not only are there wet markets in China, but all across Asia, since they are a popular source of produce. They play critical roles in Southeast Asia due to their pricing, freshness of food, and local cultures. However, wet markets are losing popularity because of the rising benefits of supermarkets in Asia. Supermarkets are seen as cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable.