Chinese health officials have rejected the World Health Organization’s (WHO) request to conduct a second study on the origins of COVID-19. WHO wants to conduct a second review because the first did not have enough raw data since it was so early in the pandemic. However, Chinese health officials believe WHO is trying to find a way to blame China for the emergence of the coronavirus, according to several reports on July 23, 2021.
Tensions Between Nations
China decided to reject the agency’s proposal after reviewing the documents and seeing that the Wuhan Lab was listed as a research site. A large part of why the WHO wanted to study the Wuhan Lab is because it is rumored that a few workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill shortly before COVID-19 was reported. In response to this rumor, Zeng Yixin, the deputy head of the National Health Commission, remarked that although some workers got sick before the first documented COVID-19 cases, there is no evidence that those workers were infected with the virus.
The agency’s initial report stated that the emergence of COVID-19 was likely due to an animal spreading the virus to humans; however, officials are now doubling back and questioning the first study.
What Does COVID-19 Have To Do With Politics?
China is growing in its global influence, while the U.S. is struggling to keep its place as the top power in the western world. For this reason, Chinese officials believe the second study is another way to politicize COVID-19 and further tensions between the U.S. and China. While no one truly knows if those are the intentions behind the second phase study, it is clear the strained relationship between the countries only seems to continue to grow more as the pandemic continues.
The unfortunate reality is that if the U.S. and China cannot peacefully foster a mutually beneficial relationship, the rest of the world will continue to suffer. Right now, the focus should be on finding the origin of the virus. If results show that the virus did not originate in China, the WHO should move on to research animals as their first theory suggested that COVID-19 originated in China.
Instead, the back and forth between the two countries is only leading to more distrust and fear. People panicked at the start of the pandemic because of distrust and fear of the government. Not to mention the use of phrases such as “the Chinese virus” or simply stating that COVID-19 came from China,
As a result, Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in America have been direct victims of hate crimes. In other words, tensions between the U.S. and China have continued to put citizens in danger, largely due to racism and xenophobia in America.
Written by Reginae Echols
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
USA Today: China rejects WHO plan to study virus origin; scholarships, guns, and money among West Virginia lottery prizes: Live COVID news; Elinor Aspengren and John Bacon
POLITICO: China says it is shocked by WHO plan for Covid origins study
CNN: Chinese government rejects WHO plan for second phase of Covid-19 origins study; by Ben Wescott, Isaac Yae, and Xong Xiong
Featured Image Courtesy of Rain Rannu’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of World Bank Photo Collection’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons