Washington, D.C. A senior White House coronavirus advisor has stated that the world must “get to the bottom” of the roots of the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the WHO and China must do more to find conclusive answers.
“Our stance is that we need to get to the bottom of this, and we need China to follow a fully open process.”
We need the WHO (World Health Organization) to help us with this. We don’t feel like we have that right now,” said WH Covid advisor Andy Slavitt during a briefing on Tuesday.
“We need to get to the bottom of this, whatever the solution is,” he said, “and that is a critical focus for us.” During the briefing, Dr. Anothy Fauci, the Biden administration’s top medical advisor, said they “felt strongly” that the world should proceed with the inquiry and move on to the next step of the WHO probe.
“Because we don’t know for certain what the root is, it’s important that we look into it,” he said. This announcement comes just days after an explosive Wall Street Journal study revealed that three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital treatment after becoming ill in November 2019, a month before Beijing confirmed the first patient with COVID-like symptoms.
“The US government has reason to believe that many researchers within the WIV became ill in autumn 2019, before the first reported case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and normal seasonal illnesses,” according to the study, sparking debate about the lab leak hypothesis.
The disclosures come amid growing demands for a more thorough investigation into whether the COVID-19 virus escaped from the Chinese laboratory. It also comes on the eve of a WHO decision-making body meeting, which is supposed to explore the next stage of inquiry into the sources of COVID-19.
The WHO study earlier this year determined that the likelihood of the virus coming from a lab was “extremely unlikely,” adding that there was “no record” of any lab having closely related viruses. The investigation was criticized by a number of nations, including the United States and the United Kingdom, for its lack of access to “full original data and samples.”
Throughout the report, the organization was accused of being too deferential to China, which was co-authored by 17 Chinese scientists, many of whom worked at state-run institutions.
China declined to provide raw data on early COVID-19 cases to the WHO-led team investigating the pandemic’s origins.
Beijing has been accused of delaying access to foreign inspectors for months after the initial outbreak, effectively ensuring that the lab had been thoroughly cleaned before any forensic tests could be performed. (Source: ANI)