Tags: Biden Administration | China | Coronavirus | Trump Administration | world health organization | who | covid-19

US-China Rift Looms Before WHO's COVID Origins Report

a man raises his left hand in front of a painted glass window in china
EcoHealth Alliance's Peter Daszak (AP)

Tuesday, 16 February 2021 03:17 PM

The World Health Organization — which has not yet released its report on the origins of COVID-19 — is in the middle of a new rift between China and the United States, NBC News reported.

Over the weekend, the Biden administration questioned the actions of the Chinese government, and the conduct of the WHO team itself.

"We have deep concerns about the way in which the early findings of the COVID-19 investigation were communicated and questions about the process used to reach them," National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Saturday, the news outlet reported.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington countered the United States is "pointing fingers at other countries who have been faithfully supporting the WHO" — a dig at former President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the WHO after accusing it of being "a puppet of China."

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO's director-general, defended the WHO-led team, whose experts comprise a range of organizations and nationalities.

"Whatever conclusions that come, these are independent experts," Tedros told a press conference Monday. "We don't tell them what to do. They will present their independent report."

The discord comes after reports suggested Chinese officials had pressed the team to accept Beijing's narrative about the source of the virus and refused to hand over key data.

A member of the fact-finding mission who also heads nonprofit EcoHealth Alliance in New York, called the rift "disappointing," NBC News reported.

"I hope the politics steps to one side and lets the science speak for once; we've done enough politicking around this pandemic," Peter Daszak, whose nonprofit focuses on emerging infectious diseases, told the news outlet.

"They've not seen what's in the report, read the report, and then we'll talk about whether it's enough, or whether more needs to be done," he said. "You know, I really hope that we're going to leave the politics of the Trump era behind."

"It's not fruitful, it's not useful," he added. "It's politics. And what we need now is science. So let the report come out. And then let's talk."

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The World Health Organization, which has not yet released its report on the origins of COVID-19, is in the middle of a new rift between China and the United States, NBC News reported.
world health organization, who, covid-19, pandemic, origins, report
Tuesday, 16 February 2021 03:17 PM
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