Media frenzy, skepticism engulf virus origin probe—and WHO is over it

A frustrated man speaks in front of World Health Organization logo.

Enlarge / World Well being Group (WHO) Well being Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan talks throughout a day by day press briefing on COVID-19 virus on the WHO headquaters in Geneva on March 11, 2020. (credit score: Getty | Fabrice Coffrini)

A world crew of scientific specialists is on the bottom in Wuhan, China, lastly making progress in its long-sought try to grasp how the pandemic coronavirus first jumped from animals to people. However the tedious scientific investigation has grow to be a media frenzy there, and it continues to be suffering from conspiracy theories and thorny worldwide politics.

On Monday, a high official with the World Well being Group had clearly had sufficient, scolding skeptics and primarily telling conspiracy theorists to indicate arduous proof or be quiet.

Members of the 15-person crew arrived in Wuhan final month and completed their obligatory two-week quarantine final Thursday. Since then, they’ve made a number of journeys round Wuhan—swarmed by media—together with a go to to the hospital that handled the primary identified COVID-19 circumstances and the Huanan seafood market, the place authorities linked lots of the earliest circumstances. The crew additionally plans to fulfill with COVID-19 survivors and go to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is the middle of a lot hypothesis and lots of conspiracy theories that the pandemic virus was engineered and/or by chance launched from a laboratory.

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