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“It boggles my mind how, when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we just don't shut it down,” Fauci told “Fox & Friends.”
“I don’t know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that,” Fauci said.
While rumors have swirled that the virus originated in bats and then infected another animal that passed it onto people at a market in the southeastern Chinese city of Wuhan, scientists have not yet determined exactly how the new coronavirus infected people. But these kinds of markets are not known to operate in the most sanitary conditions.
“You’ve got live animals, so there’s feces everywhere. There’s blood because of people chopping them up,” Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, which works to protect wildlife and public health from emerging diseases, told the Associated Press last month.
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, before its closure, advertised dozens of species such as giant salamanders, baby crocodiles and raccoon dogs that were often referred to as wildlife, even when they were farmed. The Chinese government has reportedly allowed some wet markets in the country to reopen as the threat of the contagion lessened, although the one in Wuhan remains shuttered.
Fauci said that other countries should speak out against any unsanitary selling of wildlife.
“In other countries in which this is commonplace, I would like to see the rest of the world really lean with a lot of pressure on those countries that have that because what we’re going through right now is a direct result of that,” he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador on Thursday urging him to pressure his government against reopening the markets.
“It is well documented that wet markets in China have been the source of a number of worldwide health problems," Graham said in his letter, "and their operation should cease immediately.”
Fox News Talia Kaplan contributed to this report.