The World Health Organization (WHO) will release a report on the roots of the coronavirus pandemic recommending more comprehensive contact tracing of the first known patient in Wuhan, China and the wildlife market where it is believed to have originated, The Hill reports.
Scientists involved in the investigation into how the virus originated told CNN they found it “implausible” Chinese authorities had not investigated these aspects.
In its recommendations, the draft report will call for Chinese officials to further investigate the contact history of the first known patient, believed to have contracted the virus Dec. 8, 2019. Investigators have not identified the patient by name but have said he was a white-collar worker in his forties who did not have a history of traveling far from home.
Peter Daszak, part of the WHO investigation team, said the team had met with the patient and that he informed them his parents had visited a wet market in Wuhan shortly before he was infected.
“Then he said at the end of the interview — and it was all being translated and the translator, specifically said — ‘My parents visited a local community wet market’,” Daszak told the network.
The market in question, Daszak said, was separate from the Huanan seafood market, where the virus has long been thought to have originated.
“Now, to use the term ‘wet market,’ especially under this political constraint we were under, tells me something very significant: that the other markets in Wuhan — not [only] Huanan market, other markets — sold wildlife products,” Daszak said.
The patient, meanwhile, “lived a typical urban life. He did not do crowded sporting activities. His main hobby was surfing the internet,” Daszak said.
Professor Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNN he found it shocking that officials had not investigated “two important clues like that.”
“They have top-notch scientists, who are much more knowledgeable than most in terms of recognizing the importance of this information,” he said.