The New York Times continues Trump's anti-China campaign by claiming that China hindered a WHO investigation into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and is withholding data.
On W.H.O. Trip, China Refused to Hand Over Important Data
The information could be key to determining how and when the outbreak started, and to learning how to prevent future pandemics.
Chinese scientists refused to share raw data that might bring the world closer to understanding the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, independent investigators for the W.H.O. said on Friday.
The investigators, who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to the Chinese city of Wuhan, said disagreements over patient records and other issues were so tense that they sometimes erupted into shouts among the typically mild-mannered scientists on both sides.
China’s continued resistance to revealing information about the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, the scientists say, makes it difficult for them to uncover important clues that could help stop future outbreaks of such dangerous diseases.
“If you are data focused, and if you are a professional,” said Thea Kølsen Fischer, a Danish epidemiologist on the team, then obtaining data is “like for a clinical doctor looking at the patient and seeing them by your own eyes.”
Peter Daszak, a member of the W.H.O. team and the president of EcoHealth Alliance in New York, said the trip was emotionally draining, as he and the team came to terms with the trauma of the early days of the pandemic. The team interviewed some of the first people to fall ill with Covid-19 in Wuhan, as well as medical workers.
“The world doesn’t realize, you know, that they were the first to get this thing,” Dr. Daszak said, “and they didn’t know how bad it was.”
While the Times claims that the Chinese have more data than they provided (they don't) and insinuates that they have something to hide, the researchers quoted in its piece reject both as nonsense.
Linking the NYT propaganda piece Peter Daszak refuted its basic tone:
Peter Daszak @PeterDaszak - 11:27 UTC · Feb 13, 2021
This was NOT my experience on @WHO mission. As lead of animal/environment working group I found trust & openness w/ my China counterparts. We DID get access to critical new data throughout. We DID increase our understanding of likely spillover pathways.
New data included env. & animal carcass testing, names of suppliers to Huanan Market, analyses of excess mortality in Hubei, range of covid-like symptoms for months prior, sequence data linked to early cases & site visits w/ unvetted live Q&A etc. All in report coming soon!
Quoting Daszak's tweet Thea Fischer pitched in:
Thea K Fischer, Prof. i PH Virus Inf. og Epidemier @TheaKFischer - 14:03 UTC · Feb 13, 2021
This was NOT my experience either on the Epi-side. We DID build up a good relationsship in the Chinese/Int Epi-team! Allowing for heated arguments reflects a deep level of engagement in the room. Our quotes are intendedly twisted casting shadows over important scientific work.
To which Daszak responded:
Peter Daszak @PeterDaszak - 14:07 UTC · Feb 13, 2021
Replying to @TheaKFischer
Hear! Hear! It's disappointing to spend time w/ journalists explaining key findings of our exhausting month-long work in China, to see our colleagues selectively misquoted to fit a narrative that was prescribed before the work began. Shame on you @nytimes !