This 7500 word essay constitutes three parts.
One blog per part
Part One: What was
Part Two: What is
Part Three: What might be
20 Guidelines to Reading this Article
Discovery of Coronavirus
Quick to Blame Animals
Change in Law and Diet
I spent many hours over several days engaged in online research into the Coronavirus (Covid-19). I read many thoughtful articles, essays, analysis and views worldwide on the worldwide threat to the health of humanity. I bought magazines and a few newspapers with opinions and news articles. I watched a few TV programmes on the issue and listened to BBC radio discussions. I also received comments from friends worldwide on the impact of the virus.
I appreciated the immense amount of work of thoughtful people worldwide going into understanding the virus and impact it currently has on the life of our species. The graphs of those catching this very contagious disease, especially since early February, reveal a dramatic increase from one day to the next. That upward curve still goes on in most countries.
I wrote the essay on Mindfulness of the Coronavirus to offer readers a general overview. The situation constantly changes with the impact of the pandemic. I plan to offer an update every week or so.
Six Guidelines while Reading this Article
- This article springs from an immense amount of reading, especially online, news reports and much reflection, observation and note-taking.
- Please note that the situation for individuals, communities, society, nations and at a global level change rapidly as more information comes in.
- What was relevant at the time of writing may not be relevant a day or two later.
- You may well have doubts about some points that you read.
- Do check out for yourself.
- This article consists of a fusion of information and some strong views.
Mindfulness and Reflection in Daily Life
- Reflect on your intentions, words, spoken or written, actions and consequences
- Be mindful of the needs of others, as much as your own.
- Be mindful of scientific information and the views of medical and scientific experts.
- Be mindful of those engaged with front-line services.
- Be mindful of those who support children, elderly, the sick and people with the virus.
- Be mindful to support health services and voluntary organisations.
- Be mindful of what you read in social media.
- Be mindful of the range of beliefs, conspiracy theories and standpoints.
- Take notice of expert medical and scientific advice on the immediate situation.
- Inner pressure, due to anxiety, stress and fear, affects perceptions, analysis and views.
- Treat with caution the range of views about the future from experts, politicians and commentators.
- Remember to learn and act rather than complain.
This advice offers you the best protection from this highly contagious disease and offers the best protection to safeguard others from contracting the virus.
WASH YOUR HANDS, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE.
This is to avoid tiny droplets of virus from transferring to the hands, then onto another or an item, such as clothes, money, basket handle in the supermarket, door handles, etc.
KEEP A MINIMUM DISTANCE OF TWO METRES FROM ANOTHER HUMAN BEING.
A single cough, a sneeze or air blown can land the virus on a person close at hand.
STAY-AT-HOME IF YOU ARE UNWELL OR ANYONE LIVING WITH YOU IS UNWELL.
Take much rest. Be patient. Use separate utensils. Wash everything thoroughly in hot water and soap. Call someone for advice.
Go out for food, medicine or exercise. Once a day. Keep away from social contact. Make sure you have a clear purpose. Keep more than two metres away from other people. Walk and breathe mindfully.
We bring mindfulness to the foreground out of respect for ourselves, for others and for all those who work diligently to protect us from harm.
These strict guidelines bring about a significant reduction in the spread of Covid-19. Our commitment to the above also supports our hospitals, clinics and various health services. Those who work in these services form the front line to deal with the impact of the virus.
Our health services are in danger of being overwhelmed with patients, anxious family members and friends if the coronavirus keeps spreading.
Life is worth protecting.
A peaceful mind supports everybody.
PART ONE. WHAT WAS
If anything arises, there has to be conditions for something to arise. This includes Covid-19. It is not possible to find an exception to this principle of dependent arising conditions in daily life.
Research can designate some influential conditions. An ending of these conditions as much as possible minimises the continuity of a pandemic, or arising of another major virus, and its consequences on the human population.
We can briefly look back at the recent history. This section endeavours to pinpoint several conditions which appear to point the initial spread of the corona virus and viruses that have emerged over recent decades.
This article also calls for radical changes in our relationship to animals with the implementation of laws to protect ourselves, farm animals and wildlife as an expression of an ecological and global awareness.
Influenza can lead to thousands of deaths a year. For example, University of Oxford stated that in 2008-2009, 13,000 people died in the UK alone related to the flu. The development of a vaccine has dramatically reduced the death rate.
World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that an average of up to 500,000 people die annually across the globe due to flu.
Influenza has killed 40,000 people in the USA this winter season, and 40 million have caught the flu. There is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) which produces 14,000 deaths per year for the elderly.
Major flu outbreaks are familiar to us. They have been around many centuries. We are not afraid of flu. Fear tends to arise with a strongly virulent strain of widespread publicity and no remedy or vaccine.
The Ebola disease started in Africa in 2014, following the destruction of the habitat of wild animals in Africa. A child first contracted the virus. The youngster was seen playing at the foot of a tree, which bats had occupied due to the loss of their habitat owing to mining companies and timber businesses. These businesses negated the habitats of creatures, which brought wild animals into closer contact with nearby villages. Many members of the little boy’s family quickly contracted the disease from the child and died. One person travelled from the village to the city and the disease began to spread in the city. Medical services reported 28,616 cases of Ebola and 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The epidemic of the HIV virus caused the death of around 36,000,000 people worldwide. Around 30,000,000 people live with the virus in sub-Sahara Africa. Treatment for HIV continues to improve, which reduces the number of deaths year by year.
In 1963, around 500,000 residents of Hong Kong died from a flu pandemic known as Hong Kong flu. An estimated one to four million people died from this flu in Asia.
SARS, an earlier strain of the coronavirus, has never been fully eradicated. There is risk of its return. Another respiratory disease named MERS infected 2094 people.
A virus infection travelled from horses to people in Australia in 1994. Another virus outbreak took place, which travelled from pigs to people in Malaysia four years later.
Salmonella bacteria caused infections in more than 90,000 humans in the EU. Salmonella bacteria live in the intestinal tract of humans and animals. Eggs, chickens and beef contain Salmonella bacteria.
Epidemics and pandemic bring immense suffering and death to the human population.
Scientists have usually found the virus first in animals. Human beings have engaged in the exploitation of animals for financial gain. Farm animals and wild animals have suffered an immense amount of abuse. For example, cows eat grass. To increase profit margins, the UK farming industry fed calves and cows meat and bone meal (MBM) which contained the remains of cattle and sheep.
178 people in the UK died from bovine spongy encephalopathy disease, known as mad cows disease. They contracted a variant of Creuztzfeldt-Jakob disease when they ate infected beef. Due to this in the early 1990s, farmers slaughtered around four million cows during the eradication program throughout the country.
Painful experiments on animals continue in laboratories to search for cheap ways to feed livestock. Governments and the farming industry have refused to make any shift in terms of society’s massive consumption of animal’s birds and fish.
Discovery of Coronavirus
Disease experts working in the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control first discovered the virus at the end of December 2019.
The director of the centre located Covid-19 in two hospital patients who had pneumonia. The director realised this virus belonged to the same family of viruses that caused SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). This disease killed nearly 800 people between 2000- 2003, and more than 8100 people were infected with the virus.
Scientists realise that a mixture of different viruses generated the conditions for dangerous new pathogens to emerge. Some local people had developed certain antibodies against the SARS-like viruses. At the beginning of the year, Chinese doctors issued warnings of the dangers of a stronger strain of coronavirus (covid-19) breaking out. To the alarm of those working in Wuhan, the spreading of this severe respiratory disease travelled through the population like wildfire.
The disease centre needed to find out the origins of the virus. Their research led to two animals which may have transmitted the virus – pangolins or bats. These two species carried anything from 86% to 99% match of the genetic material of the virus. This did not prove that either species directly infected humans. Chinese people eat pangolins, (scaly anteaters), as a delicacy and believe its scales have medicinal properties. The Chinese government has banned the import of wild animals from Africa and parts of Asia for years, but sales of wild animals, dead and alive, continue in Chinese markets due to lack of strict enforcement of the law.
Bats live in large caves, which serve as a kind of reservoir for viruses. It is possible or even probable that those who first caught the virus had contact with the bats in their habitat or in the markets of Wuhan.
Those who went into the habitat of the bats may have caught the virus, which then transferred to other locals nearby and rapidly spread throughout the world. It is not known whether the virus came directly from bat to human or whether an intermediary, such as another animal, transferred the virus.
Research continues into animals that may carry some form of coronavirus. Scientists estimate there could be as many as 5000 strains.
Some people wanted to exterminate all bats and pangolins to end the virus they carried. A simple solution could resolve the transmission from mammals to humans – keep right out of the habitat of these creatures that carry the virus. Do not get close to them or handle them.
There was also concern in China that the origin of the virus may have travelled from the laboratory with a person to the outer world. The same concern applies to laboratories in any country where numerous experiments take place on animals and experiments with viruses for production of a vaccine. A government or scientists would probably never admit that a virus escaped a laboratory and entered into the public domain.
The name corona comes from the Latin meaning a Crown. Under a microscope, the spiky surface reveals what appears like a red crown.
Scientific research shows that with every new outburst of strain of coronavirus the infection rate has a much faster impact on the human population than the one before. If the pathogens exist among certain creatures, then it becomes increasingly necessary to locate which animals or birds carry the virus in order to stop another virus from entering the human chain.
Human beings continue to engage in an exploitive and violent relationship upon birds, fish, mammals and animals. We exploit the varieties of species through eating them, destroying their habitats, using them for animal experiments, running large industrial farms and for entertainment.
Quick to Blame Animals
We are quick to voice blame upon animals whenever we feel threatened through a virus or plague. The constant attacks on creatures for carrying a virus enables us to avoid taking responsibility for the transmission of a virus from a bird or animal to humans.
In the market of Wuhan, wild animals, dead and alive, were held captive. The market sold these animals from various parts of the world. In such a confined space as a market, it made it possible for a dangerous and virulent mix of species to occur with viruses transferring from one species to another and onto the hands of stall holders. The weakness of the immune system of stallholders and animals made it much easier for transference of the virus.
Sellers of animals in markets can treat the animals roughly. The animals spend days or weeks imprisoned in cages. These creatures witness other frightened and dead animals around them. This brings about a high level of stress making them vulnerable to sickness. which releases viruses that find their way into humans including the respiratory system.
Hunters capture these animals from around the world and deprive them of their natural habitat to sell them for food, pets, trophies, so called medicinal purposes and experiments.
The animals live in cages one on top of the other enduring poor diet and intense stress.
Birds and animals live in nightmare conditions in factory farms in cramped spaces and fed a diet unsuitable for these creatures. These factory farms deny the animals the outdoors, connection with their calves and warmth between the animals themselves while workers reveal an absence of empathy.
The creatures are not to blame for the viruses. The fault lies fully with human beings. We have invaded their world. Our interaction with these creatures has led to the pandemic spread of the pathogen. The creatures carry around a virus in their own communities of creatures. They have done so for centuries without triggering such an impact upon themselves or with other animals.
When people create the conditions for intrusion of these animals, then there is the release of the virus. In the middle ages, rats started living in open sewers and fed on thrown away meat of animals. Our filthy and unhygienic behaviour contributed to the plagues from rats in the Middle Ages.
We need to be mindful of the fact that the animal kingdom hosts thousands of different viruses. In order to avoid even more terrifying viruses, it will require a fundamental change in human behaviour towards the animal kingdom. This will require governments to stop the important of any animals, birds or fish, dead or alive, from one country to another. Such new laws need to be strictly enforced with severe penalties for violation of the laws.
We have to commit to protect all habitats of creatures including forests, the jungle, rainforests and open spaces. Such action would contribute to the solving the spread of viruses.
We leave creatures alone in their habitats.
Changes in Law and Diet
We need to close down all factory farms. This means that the law no longer permits birds and animals to be penned indoors for the duration of their life. There needs to be a nationwide campaign to end eating of animals, birds and fish to protect these creatures from abuse and protect humans from the harm inflicted on our health due to bacteria, transmission of viruses, injections into birds and animals and the impact of meat on our health.
A fundamental change in our diet contributes to the protection of our vulnerable ecosystem.
We destroy habitats to build factories, cities and transform homes of creatures into land for farming. This invasion places immense stress on all forms of wildlife. Support for animals and their environment also gives support to humans and our habitats.
A sickness or a virus from animals triggers clusters of a disease or virus in humans. People then travel, even short distances, and unwittingly pass on the virus to others. It takes only a matter of weeks before it expands from a cluster to an epidemic and then to a pandemic. Under immense stress, creatures cannot cope with pathogens. Their immune system breaks down making it vulnerable to passing viruses, which normally cause no problems.
We need to look carefully at our relationship with animals, wild, domestic and farm animals, as much as looking into our relationship with each other. Habits matter equally for all creatures on this earth, human and otherwise.
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