A World of Worry over Wet Markets

China is reopening some wet markets where—scientists broadly agree—the outbreak of the novel coronavirus likely began.
Prominent figures have called for such markets to be shuttered. Anthony Fauci said his mind was “boggled” that they weren’t banned given how much disease transmission emerges from that “unusual human-animal interface.”
But what exactly is a wet market? While many equate them with the sale of “exotic” animals, they encompass a variety of retail operations and not all sell wild animals linked to disease outbreaks.
They are also a key source of affordable fresh food and cultural value—making the issue of closure far from black-and-white.

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