A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that causes COVID-19 likely spread to people via an animal, but WHO’s chief said the mission to study the origins of the virus did not adequately analyze other theories.
“As far as WHO is concerned, all hypotheses remain on the table,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement on Tuesday after the report was released. “This report is a very important beginning, but it is not the end. We have not yet found the source of the virus, and we must continue to follow the science and leave no stone unturned as we do.”
According to the findings from the WHO team, a scenario where an animal host such as a wild animal that was captured and raised on a farm “very likely” spread the virus to humans. However, that animal has not yet been determined.
“The possible intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2 remains elusive,” the report stated, referring to another name for the virus.
The report’s conclusion was largely based on the WHO’s investigative efforts in January and February of this year. Critics noted that the Chinese communist regime had a significant role in their investigation and accused them of again engaging in a cover-up.
Tedros also stated Tuesday that “scientists would benefit from full access to data including biological samples from at least September 2019” and that “in my discussions with the team, they expressed the difficulties they encountered in accessing raw data. I expect future collaborative studies to include more timely and comprehensive data sharing.”
Atlantic Council senior fellow Jamie Metzl, a WHO adviser and former staffer for President Joe Biden, told CBS News that the investigation in China is akin to allowing the Soviet Union to probe the cause of the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Soviet officials were blamed for covering up the 1986 nuclear disaster and not informing the rest of the world.
“It was agreed first that China would have veto power over who even got to be on the mission,” he told CBS. “WHO agreed to that. On top of that, the WHO agreed that in most instances, China would do the primary investigation and then just share its findings with these international experts. So these international experts weren’t allowed to do their own primary investigation.”
The Trump administration last year moved to terminate the United States’ relationship with the WHO over its mishandling of the virus and its alleged pro-China bias. The Biden administration has since reversed the decision.
Metzl suggested that it was the CCP that carried out the investigation and showed its findings to the WHO committee.
“Imagine if we had asked the Soviet Union to do a co-investigation of Chernobyl—it doesn’t really make sense,” Metzl said.
During WHO’s investigation in China, Jonna Mazet, a founding executive director of the UC Davis One Health Institute, said there has been a lack of CCP cooperation, noting that American scientists were not able to conduct investigations inside China. “We need to step back…and let scientists get the real answer without the finger-pointing,” she said, according to The Associated Press in a report earlier this year.
The WHO’s findings, meanwhile, came days after former U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN that he believes the CCP virus “escaped” from a top-security laboratory in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in September or October 2019. Redfield said that such situations—where a virus leaks from a lab—are more common than people realize.
“I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory—you know, escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine,” Redfield said last week. “Science will eventually figure it out. It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect a laboratory worker.”
Early on in the pandemic, the CCP was accused of trying to silence scientists and doctors while knowing in December 2019 the virus appeared in Wuhan. They sat on the information for around six weeks. Anyone who tried to warn of the danger was accused of spreading so-called “rumors” and undermining public safety, while employing censorship to prevent media coverage and deleting mentions of it on social media.