UPDATED 9:10 AM PT – Sunday, February 14, 2021
The Biden administration called out the World Health Organization for its cozy relationship with China. Saturday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said he has “deep concerns” over the WHO’s investigation into China’s role as ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic.
The organization’s initial findings were made without data from the early phase of the outbreak.
“Of course this information is all in Chinese and needs to be translated etcetera, etcetera,” microbiologist and infectious disease expert Professor Dominic Dwyer said. “But whether there are any other reasons why the data isn’t available, I don’t know. One would only speculate.”
Last week, WHO investigators left China empty-handed as they were denied access to data on 174 cases that were allegedly close to the pandemic’s origins. Instead, Chinese researchers gave their own studies based on medical data months before the Wuhan outbreak hit.
Allegedly, the WHO team was neither allowed to look at this data nor to conduct their own investigations. The lack of transparency from China raised the hairs of global leaders, including the U.S., who called for China to release the data.
“None of the data has given the answer on its own,” Dwyer added. “So then when you have got limited bits of information, how do you put those together to work out the origin? So there were differences of opinion about the significance of the data and so on, and that’s natural.”
Sullivan stressed the Biden administration reversed President Trump’s decision to pull out of the WHO out of respect for the organization. He added protecting the WHO’s credibility is a top priority as the world looks to it for advice on how to combat COVID-19.
However, Sullivan noted re-engaging with the WHO means they must live up to higher standards.