Myth #5: The coronavirus came from a woman who ate bat soup.
April 18, 2020
Fact: While the coronavirus may have spread to humans from a bat, it did not come from a person eating bat soup.
While scientists believe that the novel coronavirus originated in bats, the myth that the coronavirus came from bat soup was propagated by a widely-circulated video of an Asian woman eating bat soup. However, the woman in the video, Wang Mengyun, is the host of a travel show. In the video, she was not in China, but Palau, an island in the western Pacific Ocean, and the video was filmed in 2016.
So, where did the novel coronavirus originate from? Most likely the wet markets in Wuhan, China, where wild animals are packed closely together and sold as food or pets. In an investigation of the first cases of COVID-19, researchers found over half of the first 41 cases of pneumonia had “contact or exposure to the market.”
The mixing of different species in cramped conditions such as the Wuhan market allows for viruses to transfer much more easily. Scientists believe that bats were the first carriers of the coronavirus, but there are no documented cases of transmissions from bats to humans, so there might have been an intermediate host, such as a snake or a pangolin.
However, some of the earliest cases in China had no link to the Wuhan web market, causing rise to the theory that researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) studying a coronavirus may have let it escape from the lab due to human error.
So while we can say that the coronavirus did not start from a person eating bat soup, the origins of the virus are still unclear; scientists will need to perform more research before they can confirm anything.