A new coronavirus relief bill put forth by Democrats in the House of Representatives includes funding to track diseases spread from animals to humans. Scientists believe the coronavirus was transferred from a bat to a human, but it’s still unclear exactly how.

The bill includes $111 million, of $3 trillion in relief, to track species “that could pose a biohazard risk to human health,” including penalties for those trading in species and provisions for blocking import.

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But the matter is complicated. Scientists estimate that 75% of emerging infectious diseases come from animals, with the majority coming from wildlife. But with the 200 million wild animals brought into the United States annually, it can be hard to track each one, much less test each one for infection, according to Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Hartl told The Hill, “It presumes a level of knowledge of the natural world we don’t have and never will have and that this current pandemic illustrated. There’s no way to know until after the fact when the horse has already left the barn that something was bad.”

Senator Tina Smith introduced a bill in 2019 that explained the risks of zoonotic diseases. She said in a statement of the $3 trillion relief bill, “I’m pushing for a significant One Health approach in the next coronavirus relief package because this pandemic has shown us the far-reaching consequences of zoonotic diseases. There is an urgent need to better understand the links between human, animal and environmental health, and with the coronavirus pandemic highlighting those links, it is important that all appropriate federal agencies coordinate on this effort.”

Read more about protecting yourself from coronavirus. Check the CDC website for more information on how to protect yourself and check our latest article to learn how COVID-19 differs from the flu.

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Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

This is a good time to reconsider our intake of animal products to stay healthy. Eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.

Interested in joining the dairy-free and meatless train? We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals, and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Catch up on our latest coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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