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Covid and Bat Soup: Myth or Fact?

covid and bat soup viral
Screengrab from a video viewed more than 4 million times on Twitter.

If you are reading this article, you may have come across many theories about Covid and bat soup causing it must have been one. I remember reading one (quite foolishly) titled “Bat Soup: The Initiator of The Covid Crises’.

Skeptics from all over the world have different views about the origins of coronavirus. After all, it plunged the world into isolation. Countries lost their economies, and millions of people died. All because of a virus that no one saw coming. But before we can assess the theories, let us start from the beginning:

The Early Days of the Covid Pandemic and Bat Soup

In the early days of the virus, the world was collectively holding its breath. The fear of the virus, as it was mostly unknown, was far too much. To make things worse, there was more division than ever before. I vividly recall that if you ordered something online, you would wash it in the sink before you used it.

Washing hands became a necessary practice (as if it was not before) and hand sanitizer sales skyrocketed. People were now more careful of their actions, travel, and interactions. However, despite precautions, Covid cases still rose.

Despite overwhelming evidence of a literal lethal virus, people were still in disbelief. People, typically conservatives, refused to take any precautions. The face mask mandate met fierce retaliation.

People didn’t want the government to tell them what what to do. It was about control– amidst the chaos. And they believed their government was imposing these rules on them by force. This resulted in countless casualties of this virus and, thus, more sorrow and misery. People began to view this as an outlet for their anger and resentment.

And who did they target? Asian people.

Overseas Anti-Asian Prejudice

The early days of the Covid pandemic saw more hate crimes directed toward people of Asian descent than before. It was a chaotic and hard time to be Asian overseas. The virus scared everyone. However, in my opinion, none were more scared than Asian people.

2021 reached a new boiling point. There was an explosion of hate crimes against Asian Americans. The severity of these crimes was so much that the POTUS had to sign a law to address a rising number of anti-Asian attacks. You cannot deny that there was the backing of racism behind these attacks.

For example, people in the US targeted Asian Americans verbally and physically. Moreover, there were rumors worldwide about how China and their “diet of animals like dogs, cats, snakes, and bats” caused the Covid virus, given its origin in Wuhan.

Bat Soup Attacks on Asian People

bat cuisine and bat market china
A vendor wearing a facemask offers meat at a near-empty market on the eve of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan on January 24, 2020

Before long, videos and pictures of people of Asian descent consuming bats with chopsticks started surfacing. These exploded with comments condemning these actions and linking bat soup and Covid together. Unfortunately, for the people of China and all Asian people, they became the target of this hate. The fact is that people living in the west needed a scapegoat.

Bat meat consumption is most common in Asia and the Pacific Islands. People have consumed bats in traditional medicine makes use of bats too. For example, in southern China, bat meat is served at restaurants. Bat soup is considered a delicacy in the Republic of Palau and Marianna Islands.

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However, numerous sources prove that ‘bat soup’ did not perpetrate the Covid pandemic.

Covid and the Bat Soup Myth: The Infamous Bat Supermarket in Wuhan

According to a 2020 article, the outbreak stemmed from a wholesale meat market in Wuhan. The virus was found in the area where live animals were kept.

This doesn’t mean that the virus began in the market, though. It only means the market played a role in spreading the virus. In fact, a 2020 study in The Lancet found that 14 of the first 41 people confirmed to have Covid didn’t visit the market. This suggests there are other sources.

Therefore, bats may have played a role in the Covid outbreak. But it likely wasn’t the consumption of bat soup that caused Covid. The WHO is still tracking the source. But at least scientists have debunked the bat soup causing Covid theory.

Conclusion

The rumors about bat soup and Covid-19 are false. The myth started when a woman eating bat soup video went viral. However, the video was taken in 2016 and filmed in Palau, a country in the Pacific Ocean.

Bats may have played a role in the Covid pandemic, but bat soup didn’t cause Covid. The exact cause is still not known.

I hope you liked this post. If you liked it, please comment and let us know in the comments below. I’d also love to answer any other myths you might have heard, and I’d love it if you wanted to share the myths/stories you have come across yourself.

Are you interested to read more?

Then, read similar posts like The Toxic Work Culture in China and The Harsh Truth About Social Media in China.

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By Hina Butt

Hina has spent a huge chunk of her life in China and considers it as her second home. She's a mommy of two perfect kids and now lives in Oman after moving in with her husband.
Before she started writing blog posts for SesameDisk, she got a graduate degree in Medicine(M.B.B.S) from Southeast University, Nanjing, China. During that time, just to shake things up, she went to Language school at the Shandong University in Jinan and ended up passing HSK Level 6 with flying colors.
She then worked as a GP and did a handful of practices, taught English in Chinese schools and later got into beauty blogging with some really important people who are way too dignified to be named here!
She now writes full-time.

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