China refuses to give WHO data on early COVID-19 cases
China’s government refused to provide World Health Organization investigators with raw, personalized data on early coronavirus cases. Previously, Chinese officials and scientists shared with WHO experts their own extensive summaries and analysis of data on the cases. However, suspiciously enough, the WHO team was not allowed to study the raw underlying data on those retrospective studies. It could enable them to conduct their own analysis on how early and extensively the virus started to spread in China.
As a result, the WHO team was unable to gain access to the necessary information about early cases of coronavirus infection. According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing WHO representatives, Beijing had rejected all requests for revealing information about 174 cases of COVID-19 detected in Wuhan in December 2019.
"That's standard practice for an outbreak investigation. Gaining access to the raw data was especially important since only half of the 174 cases had exposure to the Huanan market, the now-shuttered wholesale seafood centre in Wuhan where the virus was initially detected," Dominic Dwyer, an Australian infectious disease expert, told the Reuters. "Why that doesn't happen, I couldn't comment. Whether it's political or time or it's difficult ... But whether there are any other reasons why the data isn't available, I don't know. One would only speculate," he highlighted. The Chinese authorities provided an analysis of medical records made several months before COVID-19, while Chinese scientists offered their own versions of the appearance and spread of the epidemic. That’s it.
WHO experts were not allowed to review the raw data that could shed light on the origin of the coronavirus. WHO specialists planned to conduct their own tests but they had to abandon a full-fledged epidemiological study. The National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not comment on this situation.
On Tuesday, February 9, WHO experts reported on the preliminary results of the investigation. They rejected the version about the artificial origin of SARS-CoV-2. They believe that COVID-19 got to people from bats through some intermediate link. Scientists studied several versions of what happened. According to experts from the University of Cambridge, the Potsdam Institute for the Study of Climate Change, and the University of Hawaii, the transmission of the virus from animals to humans was facilitated by climate changes in the south of China. In this region, the number of bats has increased significantly, which has caused the emergence of new types of coronaviruses, including those that are dangerous to humans.