JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)– The coronavirus outbreak is having an alarming impact on China. It’s also a global health emergency. The virus is leaving U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue uncertain if the trade agreement with China will be affected. The Mississippi agriculture commissioner is also monitoring the virus.
One-hundred-seventy people have died in China from the coronavirus. Eight-thousand others have been infected in more than 12 countries. A total of six people in the U.S. have been infected with the virus.
“We pray we also don’t have an outbreak of this coronavirus in America, much less in Mississippi,” said Mississippi Department of Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson. “There is a theory that it could mutate into something that could come into livestock or other animals and become in the food chain, but at this point that has not happened. We are monitoring it closely and the USDA is doing the same.”
Gipson says products coming in are being checked for safety,
The coronavirus may also have an impact on the U.S. economy and Mississippi.
“This coronavirus could have the impact because of the quarantine because of the areas impacted and just less imports in general so we’re very concerned about that China has just committed earlier this month to radically increase its purchase of agriculture products, and we want to make sure this does not negatively impact that but it looks like just in the short term there will be an impact,” said Gipson.
He also recalls last year’s epidemic, swine fever, which hit pig farms hard in China.
“We’ve seen the impact already with swine fever in China and that is the result of the disease in pigs in China and that results in less pigs and less soybeans to feed their pigs and we’ve seen that reduction,” said Gipson.
The coronavirus is calling into question whether China will be able to hold up phase one of the trade agreement.