It takes a whole world to create a new virus, not just China | Laura Spinney

Viruses such as Covid-19 wouldn’t emerge in food markets if it wasn’t for factory farming, globalised industry and rapid urbanisation

  • Laura Spinney is the author of The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How it Changed the World

When I get stressed, a patch of annoying red eczema appears on the inside of my upper right arm. The doctor gives me some cream to rub on it, but I also know that to stop it coming back I have to deal with the underlying problem.

Too much information, you’re thinking, but let me make the analogy. The reason we shouldn’t call the Sars-CoV-2 virus causing global misery the “Chinese virus” is the same reason I shouldn’t blame my eczema on my upper arm: there is clearly a superficial weakness there, but the real cause lies elsewhere.

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