The first known case of the coronavirus already reached its first birthday last November and, yet, reports show that China still seeks to re-write the COVID-19 origin story. The first reported case for COVID-19 is known to be from Wuhan, a large city in one of China’s largest central provinces. However, it would seem that the country is starting to question the true origins of the pandemic. It would also seem that there are campaigns to shift the blame to other countries. In case the COVID-19 origin story does change, does it matter?
What the World Health Organization has to say
Experts believe that it is true that China was the first to report cases of the virus. However, the existence of this first reported case in the country does not necessarily prove that the disease originated in China. Evidence that this first reported case is the “patient zero” of the disease is yet to be proven. The World Health Organization has just released a plan to investigate the true origins of the pandemic. It is a daunting task and might take years to lead to credible results. Other than the time-limitations to the physical data (DNA, fluid samples, etc), there is also a sensitive political situation that needs to be handled carefully.
Is the origin story REALLY that important?
Socio-politically, the origin story is a messy deal as it can result in widespread stigma. However, for the sake of science and medical research, the origin story is VERY important. This could help virologists learn how the virus transferred from animals to humans. The knowledge of transmission can help scientists understand deeply how other (potential) illnesses could be prevented. It also leads to what measures must be observed to make it preventable. This could also lead to information on the different strains, and if it could still evolve into a more dangerous strain.
No point in finger-pointing now
Scientists from other countries do not point out that the virus did come from China. However, they do highlight the likeliness that it did originate from the country. Why China tries to change the origin story is difficult to say. Although, unless scientists find out a different angle to the story, it will be difficult to change people’s thinking all over the world.
In the middle of a pandemic with such catastrophic effects, now is not the time for finger-pointing. Regardless of the true origin, what matters more is finding out why and how the virus spread the way it did. This question could be more helpful in finding out how to stop the virus.