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My Visit to China: Could This Be A Reason Why Coronavirus Started There?

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Gadsale specializes in Marketing / Advertising / Digital Media.

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Do You Think Unsanitary Conditions in China Make Ideal Breeding Grounds for Outbreaks Like the Coronavirus?

I've visited China and the wet markets where the coronavirus is believed to have started. With the conditions I saw it's not surprising that this is where the outbreak may have begun.

My Visit to China: Could This Be A Reason Why Coronavirus Started There?
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With all the talk about the coronavirus, I wanted to share my experiences visiting China.  A few years ago I traveled to Beijing and Shanghai as a tourist. While the country is amazing and has some unbelievable attractions, it is also obvious that they are still a developing nation.

Common Local Food Options

The first difference that I noticed was the choice of food options. Although they have McDonald’s and KFC they also have some local dishes that many in America would not put on the menu.  I saw whole fish with the fins and scales served on a plate, mammals I won’t mention, and snakes. The latter is at the center of coronavirus issue as it’s suggested that a bat was eaten by a snake who then was eaten by a person. 

Open-Air Wet Markets

While eating odd foods isn’t a bad thing, Andrew Zimmern has made a career of it, how the food is prepped in China is an issue.  While in Shanghai I visited what they call a “wet market.” Several websites are claiming the coronavirus, and previously SARS started in wet markets. Think of a farmer’s market but the butchering of the animals happens behind the counter and the raw meat is hung in the open air. China Street Butcher Not only are they butchering pigs, ducks and chickens there are also stands with live frogs, eels, snakes and turtles. It’s not very sanitary and there are no regulations on how they discard the entrails. One moment a man could be butchering a snake, the next he could be handling a raw piece of pork before selling it to the consumer.  The market was open-air even during the summer months. Raw meat sat out in 85-degree temperatures. The worst part was the unsanitary conditions. The animal waste, including feces, wasn’t discarded away from the food. I’m honestly surprised more people don’t get sick.

Human Waste Disposal

Another issue in China is how they deal with human waste.  Many of the big cities are westernized when it comes to plumbing but even in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, it is not rare to come across squat toilets. Squat toilet - China The squat toilet is just what it sounds like. In nice areas, they can be made of porcelain, like the attached picture, but in many spots, they are made of metal or wood. They are essentially a hole in the floor that you squat over to do your business.  Again, the sanitation of these toilets is not great, especially if the previous user was careless with their aim. Another issue with Chinese restrooms is that in most you are not allowed to flush the toilet paper. In many areas, the plumbing isn’t capable of handling the waste paper. So what do people do with the waste paper? They place it in a garbage can or open bin. And again, the sanitation varies on whether or not the previous user cared to hit the bin with their waste paper. Even in restaurants and bars in the cities, I saw overflowing bins of used waste paper. That was in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The situation was worse in more rural areas.

Disease Transmission

All of these poor practices can contribute to the spread of illness. The overall attitude though is not one of cleanliness and sanitation. Washing your hands after butchering an animal or going to the restroom is not seen as necessary in many parts of the country.  For China to stem the tide of illness, and prevent future issues, they really need to change public attitudes around hygiene.  The coronavirus can be spread via infected secretions, fecal matter or by a cough or sneeze. China’s hygiene standards increase the odds of all those possibilities.

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Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

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This reminded me of toileting in France, early 2000s. They had squats as well, and you paid for toilet paper. Then prayed that the prior user didn't leave a mess

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LikeTheDeadSea has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in School Nursing.

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Oh yikes, thanks for sharing your experience!

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

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China Overtakes U.S. for Healthy Lifespan: WHO Data

According to the article, The U.S. lifespan is still expected to be 2 years longer. However, the average citizen of the United States is expected to be very unhealthy for their last 10 years of life.

Obviously, our technological availability is extending the lives of unhealthy people. But, the average Chinese person is healthier.

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HomeBound has 20 years experience and specializes in ED, ICU, Prehospital.

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14 minutes ago, Emergent said:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1IV15L

 

China overtakes the US for healthy lifespans. 

According to the article, The U.S. lifespan is still expected to be 2 years longer. However the average citizen of the United States is expected to be very unhealthy for their last 10 years of life.

Obviously, our technological availability is extending the lives of unhealthy people. But, the average Chinese person is healthier.

You're being disingenuous.

The statistics are including drug overdoses and suicides in the US. This has zippo to do with cleanliness or health on a a physical level.

Another thing?  I know you understand the absolute openness and transparency of statistical reporting of governments---especially Communist countries obsessed with appearances.  /sarc

The fact of the matter is---because I was married to a Philipino and spent many vacations in the Phillipines---the open air markets are absolute waste holes. Why not just wipe your rear end with your hand and not wash your hands before dinner? Same thing as Gregg is describing.  How about some staph with your boiled bat?  I know all of those rural (and you don't know rural until you've been outside the cities of some of these countries. I do. try visiting some of them before spouting "statistics" that you google.) communities that having meat on the menu means butchering the family dog.

Gregg is making an excellent point because he had the up front and in person experience.  I'd think that working in a hospital would have given people the clue that washing your hands and keeping your workspace clear of feces and urine decreases sickness and the development of deadly pathogens.

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

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Disingenuous? Lol, big word. 

I'm only sharing the fact that probably your average Chinese person is in better shape and more physically functional than your average American. 

The original article states that yes, McDonald's food was available, as if that's some sort of consolation prize for all the other stuff out there. I'm saying that McDonald's and similar food outlets are responsible for the health crisis in America today.

I just read an article today that one and two Americans is expected to be obese shortly. This isn't a vanity issue. It's a public health crisis that is breaking our healthcare system.

China has over a billion people. Yes, We should be worried about this Coronavirus. But, if 1000 people died in a country of 1 billion It actually doesn't even begin to compare to the damage done to the health of Americans by the agribusiness and food industry.

 

 

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tnbutterfly - Mary is a BSN, RN and specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

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Please keep on topic.  This is not about obesity in America and life expectancies but rather the unsanitary conditions and dietary practices/food options in China that led to the outbreak of a deadly virus.

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Asystole RN is a BSN, RN and specializes in Vascular Access, Infusion Therapy.

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This article reeks of xenophobia and lightly veiled racism. 

Coronavirus was first identified in China so the Chinese must have done something to cause it. Chinese culture is different from western culture so those differences must have caused it. 

Not dissimilar to the hype that blamed HIV on homosexuals or the patently racist MSG hype around Chinese restaurants. 

The fact is little is actually known about the origins of the virus, it is far too early to make any claims. OMG, you saw someone eat a whole fish with a head and scales and everything!?!?! Pretty damn common practice in Northern Michigan. "The overall attitude though is not one of cleanliness and sanitation." Based on what? This is different from who exactly? Ever been to a Broncos game? 

Blaming this on Chinese culture with literally ZERO evidence is the height of xenophobia and racism. 

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cynical-RN has 10 years experience as a BSN and specializes in ICU.

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4 hours ago, Emergent said:

China Overtakes U.S. for Healthy Lifespan: WHO Data

According to the article, The U.S. lifespan is still expected to be 2 years longer. However, the average citizen of the United States is expected to be very unhealthy for their last 10 years of life.

Obviously, our technological availability is extending the lives of unhealthy people. But, the average Chinese person is healthier.

Valid inference herein. It is convenient for people living in glass houses to have sanctimonious dispositions when in fact the sanity of our house is quite disdainful. It is easy for prigs to overlook cases like Flint, Michigan. Furthermore, when you consider that China's population, you realize that an endemic outbreak can be scaled to an unreasonable magnitude when viewed from the narrow scope of one's corner of this indistinguishable Earth. It was not long ago that Ebola created unnecessary public hysteria (among people with insatiable anxiety) to fit certain narratives. 

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cynical-RN has 10 years experience as a BSN and specializes in ICU.

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28 minutes ago, Asystole RN said:

This article reeks of xenophobia and lightly veiled racism. 

Coronavirus was first identified in China so the Chinese must have done something to cause it. Chinese culture is different from western culture so those differences must have caused it. 

Not dissimilar to the hype that blamed HIV on homosexuals or the patently racist MSG hype around Chinese restaurants. 

The fact is little is actually known about the origins of the virus, it is far too early to make any claims. OMG, you saw someone eat a whole fish with a head and scales and everything!?!?! Pretty damn common practice in Northern Michigan. "The overall attitude though is not one of cleanliness and sanitation." Based on what? This is different from who exactly? Ever been to a Broncos game? 

Blaming this on Chinese culture with literally ZERO evidence is the height of xenophobia and racism. 

You raise important points. The article is indubitably subjectively biased with illogical inferences. 

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SimplyNicole has 7 years experience as a MSN, NP and specializes in Trauma, ER, HIV, Research, Neuro.

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I can’t remember the last time that I logged into my account but noticed the headline for this post in my spam email.  I am absolutely appalled that this content was created by an administrator. This post reeks of racism and xenophobia. I’ve traveled to different continents, throughout my life, including China (last March). I am truly sorry for your limited experience/view of such a beautiful country. As an administrator, it is beneficial to your colleagues and the students on this platform, to lead by example and share evidence-based information. This post lacks that. This post should be removed from this site. I can only imagine who has viewed the biased information being spewed, within this post. This website was created to empower nurses and other healthcare providers.
 

I’m truly disappointed that this was even approved by your administrative counterparts.

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Neo Soldier has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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This offense culture may very well kill us. 

11 hours ago, Gregg said:

Not only are they butchering pigs, ducks and chickens there are also stands with live frogs, eels, snakes and turtles. It’s not very sanitary and there are no regulations on how they discard the entrails. One moment a man could be butchering a snake, the next he could be handling a raw piece of pork before selling it to the consumer. The market was open-air even during the summer months. Raw meat sat out in 85-degree temperatures.

If what this post states is accurate, then where is the racism? In parts of the world, food preparation is not regulated- this is just a fact. You could eat just about anything. I have seen actual videos on YouTube with people eating live rats. That may be their culture and while we should be sensitive, we know that rats carry disease. Lets not let our quest for sensitivity cloud our judgment as healthcare professionals. 

 

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