According to the CDC, "many of the patients at the epicenter of the [COVID-19] outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread."
THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE. In fact, the following outbreaks all "jumped" from animals to humans via animal agriculture, animal exploitation, and live markets:
- Monkey Pox
- Swine Flu
- Bird Flu/Avian Flu
- Mad Cow Disease
...and many more!
MORE THAN 50 LIVE MARKETS ARE OPERATING IN NYC RIGHT NOW.
That's right - these are storefronts that the public walks in and out of with no protective gear and no protocol to protect themselves or others. Deliveries to these live markets happen constantly and on public sidewalks. This means that animal feces, urine, and body parts are consistently on our sidewalks and washing into our sewers; and everyone passing through tracks the bacteria into their homes, schools, work - everywhere they go! The scariest part is that they are rarely inspected, and agencies often pass the buck to each other when complaints come in; the DOHMH claims that the live markets are the responsibility of Agriculture and Markets, and vice versa. This means that the dozens of live markets operating in our neighborhoods are accustomed to disregarding regulations since they are virtually never penalized.
JUST BECAUSE AN OUTBREAK HASN'T STARTED IN NYC YET, DOESN'T MEAN IT WON'T.
It is the duty of DOHMH, Ag & Markets, and CDC to protect the public from likely health threats. Due to the newly-declared state of emergency in NY, we demand that all live market operations in the five boroughs of New York City be SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY while risk to public health is assessed. Better yet, every NYC slaughterhouse (storefront "live market" or not) should be subject to this suspension and inspection immediately. Combined, there are over 80 live markets and slaughterhouses within the five boroughs. Many of them are alongside schools, parks, and family homes.
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT IN NYC?
Simple: we are a densely-populated city with the majority of citizens dependent on public transit for commuting. That means almost everyone in NYC is walking to the subway and spending time in close quarters with hundreds or thousands of other New Yorkers every single day. Since the threats posed by these live markets are all accessible by the public AND on public streets and sidewalks, even those who are not customers may pick up and track infected debris onto our subways and buses.
LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AT RISK.
These businesses don't exist on Park Avenue. They operate in neighborhoods that already have a lower median income and typically have less access to services and information from government agencies. To ignore this health hazard is to punish NYC residents who already experience a lower quality of life in their own community.
DOHMH, AG&MARKETS, AND CDC: SUSPEND LIVE MARKETS AND SLAUGHTERHOUSES OPERATIONS IN NYC AND CONDUCT A THOROUGH RISK ASSESSMENT TODAY!!