Two WHO Team Members Dispute Report China Wasn’t Cooperative for Covid-19 Investigation
Friday the New York Times (following up on reports from the Wall Street Journal) wrote that China had “refused to hand over” important raw data to a 14-member World Health Organization team investigating the origins of the coronavirus, reporting that “their Chinese counterparts were frustrated by the team’s persistent questioning and demands for data.”

But Saturday two of those 14 team members disputed that characterization, posting on Twitter that “This was NOT my experience” — even though the Times had quoted both of them to support its article.

First Peter Daszak, president of the U.S. national science academy’s microbial threats forum, weighed in. “As lead of animal/environment working group I found trust and openness with my China counterparts. We DID get access to critical new data throughout. We DID increase our understanding of likely spillover pathways. New data included env. & animal carcass testing, names of suppliers to Huanan Market, analyses of excess mortality in Hubei, range of covid-like symptoms for months prior, sequence data linked to early cases & site visits w/ unvetted live Q&A etc. All in report coming soon!”

Then Thea Kølsen Fischer, a Danish epidemiologist on the team, tweeted that the Times hadn’t accurately described her experience either. “We DID build up a good relationship in the Chinese/Int Epi-team! Allowing for heated arguments reflects a deep level of engagement in the room. Our quotes are intendedly twisted casting shadows over important scientific work.”

Daszak reappeared to respond to her tweet, writing “Hear! Hear! It’s disappointing to spend time with journalists explaining key findings of our exhausting month-long work in China, to see our colleagues selectively misquoted to fit a narrative that was prescribed before the work began. Shame on you @nytimes!”

Ironically, the next day the Times published a longer interview they’d done with Daszak, which acknowledges that Daszak “said that the visit had provided some new clues…”

The Times had even specifically asked him if China’s attitude made their work difficult, to which Daszak explicitly had answered: no.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Author Of this post: EditorDavid

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