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The World Health Organization recently concluded its six-week investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, but some of its conclusions, including that the virus did not jump to humans before December 2019 and that it was “extremely unlikely” that it originated in a lab, have solicited skepticism from scientists.
Some of the scientific doubt, however, was not in response to the WHO, but to China’s unwillingness to provide holistic data regarding the appearance and early spread of the virus throughout Wuhan. While Chinese officials identified more than 72,000 people who had COVID-19-like symptoms between October and December 2019, World Health Organization investigators said, they only further evaluated 92 and did not disclose why over 99% of them forwent additional tests.
The investigative team, led by Dr. Ben Embarek, said that they repeatedly pressed the Chinese for the criteria that they used to drastically narrow the cases that were further studied, but to no avail. Of the 92, just 67 were submitted to serology tests by Chinese scientists, all of which came back negative, Embarek said before adding that further research was needed to be able to confidently conclude that the virus did not transmit to humans before December.