Even rats, one of nature’s most resilient creatures, are struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic. As of Monday morning, over 525,500 Americans have been confirmed positive for COVID-19, with some 20,000 deaths as a result, according to the latest numbers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Efforts to curb the outbreak have forced the temporary closure of 1 in 4 small businesses across the country, the US Chamber of Commerce said last week, with another 40 percent planning to shut down within the next two weeks. And while it is not known how the virus may directly impact the health of individual rats, the toll the outbreak has taken on the human economy has driven rats, which have thrived on Earth for some 160 million years, to desperation. Just as humans are using any available resources to obtain suddenly scarce foodstuffs, rats, too, are getting scrappy over our scraps. “A restaurant all of a sudden closes now, which has happened by the thousands in not just New York City but coast to coast and around the world,” Bobby Corrigan, a rodentologist who specializes in urban rats, tells NBC News. “And those rats that were living by that restaurant, some place nearby, and perhaps for decades having generations of rats that depended on that restaurant food, well, life is no longer working for them, and they only have a couple of choices.” The fight over the few rat habitats which have maintained their flow of food waste has prompted the most barbaric acts of bloodshed and warfare, including cannibalism, death matches and infanticide.
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