The World Health Organization (WHO) team investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic has visited two disease control centers in China.
The team visited the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the central province of Hubei on Monday. The investigators also visited the CDC office in Hubei’s capital of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first identified in late 2019.
No details about the visits were released to the media. But WHO team member Peter Daszak told reporters the Hubei CDC visit had been a “very good meeting, really important.”
The WHO experts began their investigative work in China last week. They have also visited a seafood market where early coronavirus cases were found and hospitals where the first patients were treated.
The team is hoping its investigation into the origins of the coronavirus will help prevent similar worldwide health crises in the future. The scientists are seeking to find out exactly where the virus started. Genetic sequencing shows that the coronavirus started in bats and likely jumped to another animal before infecting humans.
Health experts say the search for answers about the origins is likely to take years.
The outbreak in China led to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported on Monday there have been more than 103 million infections worldwide. More than 2.2 million people have died, the center said.
The U.S. leads the world in the number of coronavirus cases, with more than 26 million. India follows with 10.7 million, while Brazil is third with 9.2 million cases. The U.S. has the highest number of deaths at 441,000. Brazil has reported more than 224,000 deaths, while Mexico has about 158,000 and India 154,000.
China has repeatedly blocked independent reports about the spread of the disease at home and published little information on its research into the origins of the virus. China has also suggested that the virus could have started in another country.
I’m Bryan Lynn.
The Associated Press, Reuters and VOA News reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the reports for Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
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Words in This Story
origin – n. the cause of something or where something begins or comes from
genetic sequencing – n. the process of identifying and recording the order of nucleotides belonging to a particular gene