Border Crisis

Written by SK Ashby

(Cartoonist - Nick Anderson)

In other news, researchers at CitiGroup estimate that cigarette use will drop to zero in the US, Europe, and Latin America by 2050. Smoking is expected to persist in China and Russia.

Meanwhile, House Democrats have scheduled a vote on a path to citizenship for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) or "Dreamers."

Finally, WHO researchers say wildlife farms in southern China are the most likely source of the coronavirus. They say the Chinese's government decision to shut down the industry is evidence.

China shut down those wildlife farms in February 2020, says Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist with EcoHealth Alliance and a member of the WHO delegation that traveled to China this year. During that trip, Daszak says, the WHO team found new evidence that these wildlife farms were supplying vendors at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan with animals.

"China promoted the farming of wildlife as a way to alleviate rural populations out of poverty," Daszak says. The farms helped the government meet ambitious goals of closing the rural-urban divide, as NPR reported last year.

"It was very successful," Daszak says. "In 2016, they had 14 million people employed in wildlife farms, and it was a $70 billion industry."

Then on Feb. 24, 2020, right when the outbreak in Wuhan was winding down, the Chinese government made a complete about-face about the farms.

"What China did then was very important," Daszak says. "They put out a declaration saying that they were going to stop the farming of wildlife for food."

I suppose you don't shut down a $70 billion industry if you don't have a very good reason to.