Over the past week, almost 600 people have come down with a mystery illness that’s unrelated to COVID-19 in southern India. People experienced seizures, nausea, anxiety, and one patient has died so far.
The area where this illness emerged is known for industrial weaving, which exposes workers to dangerous chemicals and poor safety precautions. Some of the patients’ blood was found to have had high levels of the trace metals lead and nickel, and doctors are hypothesizing toxicity in the environment as the cause of the mystery illness. Along with the use of toxic pesticides in the area like organochlorides and burning batteries, it’s hard to tell what the origin is.
Although this new sickness isn’t related to COVID-19, the two are connected by the fact that they are the result of a system that cares nothing about the lives of people when profits are at stake. Whether it be novel zoonotic diseases emerging from deforestation, or poisoning people and the environment with toxic chemicals, the global system of capitalism demands sacrifice in the quest for ever expanding profits.