By now the meme world has forgotten all about an impending WW3 and is now giving us new material with the Coronavirus that is making the rounds. While the memes may be hilarious to scroll through on social media during our morning commutes, it’s really no laughing matter.
The epicenter of the disease outbreak has been the Chinese city of Wuhan, which has been decimated by the virus. Its residents have been forced to evacuate for safer areas. Unfortunately, many of the evacuees left their pets behind, and now with the travel bans being put in place, they’re unable to return to their homes to get them. As the days pass and turn into weeks, the poor animals are trapped – no doubt getting very hungry and anxious.
In an effort to help the animals, a few of the people who have stayed behind are now breaking into the empty homes of Wuhan in order to provide the starving animals with food and water.
43-year-old Lao Mao is someone who has taken it upon himself to conduct many of these rescue missions. As the New York Post reports, he always makes sure to contact the homeowners in order to let them know how their furbabies are doing. There was one case when Lao had to climb up a set of rusty pipes in order to reach a pair of hungry cats in a third-floor apartment. He found the two kitties hiding underneath the couch.
When he reached out to the owners, they began crying after seeing that their babies had been fed and were being looked after.
Lao Mao in Chinese actually means “Old Cat.” Lao Mao doesn’t want to worry his family, so he isn’t using his real name. But Lao Mao is living up to the agility of his pseudonym, making his services a major demand for evacuated pet owners of Wuhan.
It’s estimated that 5 million people left the city of Wuhan – either because of the Coronavirus or because they were attending Lunar New Year parties of late January elsewhere in China. Lao Mao believes that there are roughly 50,000 pets left in the city who don’t have human care.
Lao said, “The volunteers on our team, me included, have saved more than 1,000 pets since Jan. 25. My phone never stops ringing these days. I barely sleep.”
Unfortunately, the grim reality is that Lao and his team will be unlikely able to reach all the pets left alone in Wuhan in time.
“My conservative estimate is that around 5,000 are still trapped and they may die of starvation in the coming days,” he said.
When the Coronavirus first began to spread across the central part of China, there was some misinformation circulating that stated it was linked to pets, such as cats and dogs. While animals can contract a variation of the Coronavirus, there haven’t been any reports of pets getting infected with the new strain that is putting thousands of people in hospitals. Regardless, some communities are taking no chances and have implemented mandatory euthanasia policies for any animals captured in a public space.
Hopefully, this new virus will get under control soon so everyone can resume healthy lives alongside their pets.