World Health Organization investigates

How many journalists read the 313 page report into the origins of the COVID-19 before writing their own reports on the WHO investigation?

29 April 2021 | CCCA (Image supplied: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO)

The Covid-19 pandemic in the US is deadly, 574,000 of its people dead and 32.2 million infected under the Trump administration.  This led Donald Trump to the usual reflex in blaming someone else for the pandemic when he used racist language calling covid-19 the “Kung Flu”.

This was followed by Australian’s suggestion published globally and loudly that WHO should lead an investigation team to Wuhan in regard to the origin of the virus.

The Australian media coverage is best explained by Prof Wanning Sun (UTS) in her article: “Infected with Fear and Anxiety: The Australian Media’s Reporting on China and covid-19” in The China Story, 18 March 2021.

Professor Sun writes, “The way various segments of the Australian media report on China’s COVID-19 experience reflects these media’s own fears and anxieties and their political, ideological, and cultural positions. More credible media outlets in Australia have mostly framed China’s efforts in political and ideological terms. In comparison, the tabloid media have resorted to conspiratorial, racist, and Sino-phobic positions. Through my research, I found that the coverage of China’s experience is a continuation and embodiment of the “China threat” and “Chinese influence” discourses.”

Despite western perception that China will never allow investigators in Wuhan because it has something to cover up, China allowed a team of investigators to Wuhan.  The investigators made a finding that there is insufficient evidence to implicate that the covid-19 virus originated in Wuhan however Western press tried to malign the report.

In the article “There is a conspiracy about the origins of COVID-19. But it has nothing to do with China’s secrecy”. by Prof Paul Komesaroff (Professor of Medicine at Monash) and Prof Ian Kerridge (is Professor of Bioethics and Medicine at the University of Sydney), wrote at Pearls and Irritations:

“The WHO report into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, released on March 30, supported what the scientists have long known: that the SARS-CoV2 virus most likely originated in an animal reservoir and, after a process of mutations, in complex settings of environmental and ecological change, eventually found its way into human populations. It also raised a curious question: why, if it is clear that the origin of COVID-19 is no different to other zoonoses to have emerged in the last century, are the public debates focusing on quite different issues?”:

Dr Dominic Dwyer, Director of Public Health Pathology (Westmead Hosp and University of Sydney) was an Australian doctor who was on the WHO’s covid-19 mission to China. (22Feb2021).  His finding suggests that the virus is animal origin but not necessarily at the Wuhan market.  He also mentioned than imported frozen food could be a source.

Dr Dwyer’s opinion: “The most politically sensitive option we looked at was the virus escaping from a laboratory. We concluded this was extremely unlikely.”

Where to now? According to Dr Dwyer: “Our mission to China was only phase one. We are due to publish our official report in the coming weeks. Investigators will also look further afield for data, to investigate evidence the virus was circulating in Europe, for instance, earlier in 2019. Investigators will continue to test wildlife and other animals in the region for signs of the virus. And we’ll continue to learn from our experiences to improve how we investigate the next pandemic.”

“Irrespective of the origins of the virus, individual people with the disease are at the beginning of the epidemiology data points, sequences and numbers. The long-term physical and psychological effects — the tragedy and anxiety — will be felt in Wuhan, and elsewhere, for decades to come.”

From this experience, the best way to break a myth is to allow open inspection. The findings of the WHO team in China certainly put eggs in the faces of those Western media who made constant allegations of the origin of covid-19.

This commentary is supplied by the Chinese Community Council of Australia Incorporated: Founding President, Dr Anthony Pun OAM, President, Mr Kingsley Liu. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors.

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