In mid-January, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) went to the Wuhan epicenter in China to investigate how the corona pandemic arose.
Although WHO experts cannot determine the origin of the virus, they agree that the virus probably spread from bats to an unknown mammal that then infected humans.
Among WHO researchers, however, the dominant hypothesis is now that the virus first appeared in bats either in southern China or in other countries in Southeast Asia, whereupon the virus spread to another animal and on to humans, according to Danish TV 2.
The researchers indicate that the pandemic may not have originated in China at all.
Cambodia and Thailand
Thea Kølsen Fischer, one of the researchers in the WHO team in Wuhan, says the following to Danish TV 2:
– We have found that the virus probably originally originated from horseshoe bats. This type of bat is found both in southeastern China, but it is also found in other countries such as Cambodia and Thailand, she says.
Early in the epidemic, Chinese authorities said the virus had probably started in the Huanan seafood market, where wild animals were sold.
Whether the pandemic actually started on the market in Wuhan is still uncertain. Chinese authorities have recently launched a theory that the virus may have come from imported frozen seafood. This claim has been rejected by a large number of international experts.
– A new discovery
In an interview with CNN earlier in February, Peter Ben Embarek, who heads the WHO group, said that they have now seen possible signs that the outbreak of covid-19 in December 2019, which is considered the month in which the virus was first detected, may have been more comprehensive than they actually thought.
“The virus circulated a lot in Wuhan in December, which is a new discovery,” Embarek told the channel.
Chinese authorities have given the WHO access to the 174 corona infections that they retrieved at the very beginning of the outbreak in December 2019.
Now, however, Embarek believes that close to 1,000 people may have been infected with the coronavirus in December 2019.
– We have not done any modeling of it since. But we know from the infected population that about 15 percent of all cases of infection are serious cases, and that the vast majority of cases are mild, he continues.
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