Investigators from the World Health Organization traveled to China to uncover the COVID-19 origins. The initial findings from the mission, which took place from January 14 to February 10, went public on Tuesday.
The report houses a total of 120 pages. It concludes that the virus was “very likely” passed through an intermediate host. It also notes, however, that a “lab leak was extremely unlikely.”
Suggestions from the study, then, emerged, discussing the “next-phase studies of tracing” the origins of the virus. These include wildlife testing samples in southern provinces of China, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Following the release of the report, though, USA Today reported that several nations now “challenge” the WHO-convened study, questioning its validity.
The publication said that the United States, alongside a dozen other countries issued a “rare joint statement” on the same day. The U.S. State Department released the material “in coordination with a raft of other governments.” These include the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada.
As noted, these nations “support a transparent and independent analysis and evaluation, free from interference and undue influence,” of the COVID-19 origins. Accordingly, they all join in expressing “shared concerns” regarding the study.
The statement continued the World Health Organization’s mission is “critical to advancing global health” and security. Therefore, such missions should “produce independent and objective” findings.
While the joint assertion did not blame China for interference, it said that health experts were “delayed” and even denied “complete and original” data. Nevertheless, it still included “strong support” for the organization.
ABC News released a similar report, claiming that the World Health Organization now faces a “barrage of questions” about transparency and access issues. It also covered some parts of the press conference on Tuesday.
As stated, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus shared his thoughts about the study over the COVID-19 origins. He said that “there is more work to be done,” adding that he does not believe in the assessment being “extensive enough.”
He also shared that the team revealed their difficulties in “accessing raw data” during the mission. In the end, though, Ghebreyesus emphasized that they need “further data and studies” to produce “more robust conclusions.”
As of the time of writing, the active cases of COVID-19 have reached more than 22 million across the globe. Since its emergence, a total of nearly 130 million individuals have contracted the deadly virus.
The cases still show an increasing trend these past few weeks as new variants continue to surface. But, despite this, the exact details about the COVID-19 origins remain unclear.
Images courtesy of World Health Organization (WHO)/YouTube
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