The US and 12 of its allies have released a statement criticizing the World Health Organisation (WHO) after the release of a World Health Organization report that said the Coronavirus pandemic is very likely to have started with transmission from one animal to another, and then to humans.
219 countries and territories have reported about 127.9 million Covid-19 cases and 2.8 million deaths since China reported its first cases to the WHO in December 2019. More than 30 million Americans have fallen ill and more than 550,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
However, the WHO’s new report raises more questions about the body’s relationship with China as alleged by the past Donald Trump Administration, who cut off funding to the health body in 2020 citing a ‘cover up’ between the WHO and China
The 120-page WHO report, released Tuesday March 30, says a scenario where the virus spread via an intermediate animal host, possibly a wild animal captured and then raised on a farm, is “very likely.” The investigation has not found what other animal was infected by a bat — considered the most likely original source of the virus — and then may have transmitted it to a human.
According to the report, another possible-to-likely scenario is direct transmission from one of the animals known to carry a similar coronavirus, such as a bat or a pangolin.
Two other scenarios were considered unlikely. The report says introduction through cold food products is a “possible pathway” and introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be “an extremely unlikely pathway.”
The lab theory ( where it’s alleged that covid-19 spread from a Chinese military lab) was the “least likely hypothesis” according to the WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus .
The lab theory is the one most believed by the Western world.
In the joint statement between the US and 12 other countries, they questioned the WHO report and called for independent and fully transparent evaluations, while the European Union called for better access for researchers and further investigation.
The governments of Australia, Canada, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Slovenia and the United Kingdom all signed on to the joint statement with the US.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden believes Americans deserve better information about the origin of Covid-19 and further steps from the global community”
“I think he believes the American people, the global community, the medical experts, the doctors — all of the people who have been working to save lives, the families who have lost loved ones — all deserve greater transparency,”
“They deserve better information,” Psaki said of Americans.
“They deserve steps that are taken by the global community to provide that.” She went on to criticize China for its lack of transparency and called on Beijing to provide data and answers to the global community.
“The analysis performed to date from our experts — their concern is that there is an additional support for one hypothesis,” without specifying which one she was referring to. The WHO report “doesn’t lead us to any closer of an understanding or greater knowledge than we had six to nine months ago about the origin. It also doesn’t provide us guidelines or steps on how we should prevent this from happening in the future,” she said.
Despite the report by the WHO, the body’s director general Tedros (pictured below with Chinese leader Xi Jinping) said the agency would continue to explore the possibility of other covid-19 origination theories.
“The team also visited several laboratories in Wuhan and considered the possibility that the virus entered the human population as a result of a laboratory incident,” Tedros told member states in a briefing about the report, according a copy of his remarks.
“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” Tedros said.
China initially downplayed early reports of the virus, going so far as to censure scientists who tried to warn the public about the virus.
The WHO’s delay first in declaring the virus a public health emergency, and then in calling it a pandemic, prompted Trump administration officials to raise questions about its credibility and independence.