Coronavirus News Update – Feb 9: WHO Scientists Say It’s ‘Extremely Unlikely’ That Virus Came From Lab

The Death of Dr. Li Wenliang, Hero and Martyr of the Pandemic, Was One Year Ago

By Anna Breuer on 9 February 2021
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Dr. Li Wenliang, the first bold-faced name of the coronavirus pandemic, died one year ago at the age of 34 as a result of the virus.  Dr. Li had tried to warn his country and fellow countrymen but was silenced by the Chinese government.  More than one month before his death, he posted information online about the deadly virus killing untold number of patients at his hospital in Wuhan, only to be threatened by government authorities.  Today he is recognized as both a hero and a martyr.

One year after Dr. Li’s death, scientists and investigators from the World Health Organization said it was “extremely unlikely” that the coronavirus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  “It was very unlikely that anything could escape from such a place,” Dr. Peter K. Ben Embarek, a food safety scientist with the WHO, told reporters at a news conference Tuesday, citing the safety protocols that the lab has in place.  Embarek said that more study is required and that an “intermediary host species” is the most likely means of transmission to humans, saying it could have been a “direct zoonotic spillover” or transmission through the trade of frozen products.

Britain’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said that an analysis of early data does not suggest that the South African coronavirus variant is more transmissible than other variants.

A study led by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland found that people with dementia are two times as likely to contract Covid-19 than those without dementia.  The study accounted for the fact that patients with dementia typically have one or more comorbidity factors including being over 65, living in a care home, and having conditions that include asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 10% of the United States had been inoculated against the coronavirus with at least the first dose.  Roughly one-third of that group of 32 million Americans has also received the second dose.  Meanwhile, only 3% of EU nationals have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 17% of British citizens have already been inoculated.

The United States may require a negative coronavirus test for all domestic flights in the not-too-distant future.  Newly sworn-in Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said over the weekend that there was “an active conversation with the CDC right now” about whether to require passengers to present a negative test result for domestic travel.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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