‘When, where and how’: WHO report on COVID’s origins leaves many unanswered questions

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

A World Health Organization-led team investigating the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic said in a report that data examined during a recent mission to China was insufficient to answer the critical questions of when, where and how the virus began spreading.

The long-awaited report, which … was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal on [March 29], calls for closer examination of Chinese hospital records and blood samples from before the first known cases in December 2019, as well as more extensive testing of farms that supplied wild animals to a market linked to many early cases.

The team had little power to conduct a thorough, independent investigation during their trip. China initially resisted international pressure for an inquiry, and later imposed strict limitations, secured China veto rights over participants and expanded its scope to encompass other countries.


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WHO has been caught between Beijing—whose officials have suggested the pandemic may have begun outside China—and Washington, where the Biden administration has raised questions about Beijing’s transparency on the virus’s origins and the integrity of data provided to the WHO-led team.

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