In the March 7th, 2020 issue of The Lancet, a group of scientists from around the world wrote a letter, condemning “conspiracy theories” regarding the origins of COVID-19. In the letter entitled “Statement in support of scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19,” the scientists are quick to push the narrative of a natural zoonotic (a natural viral mutation) event that led to the initial outbreak of SARS-CoV-2. The letter was initially published online on February 18th, 2020, nearly two weeks before the first known US case of COVID-19. We certainly knew a lot about where it came from for a virus that we didn’t know enough about to form public policy.
The article reads as follows:
Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19
We are public health scientists who have closely followed the emergence of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are deeply concerned about its impact on global health and wellbeing. We have watched as the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China, in particular, have worked diligently and effectively to rapidly identify the pathogen behind this outbreak, put in place significant measures to reduce its impact, and share their results transparently with the global health community. This effort has been remarkable.
We sign this statement in solidarity with all scientists and health professionals in China who continue to save lives and protect global health during the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak. We are all in this together, with our Chinese counterparts in the forefront, against this new viral threat.
The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins. We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes of the causative agent, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife, as have so many other emerging pathogens. This is further supported by a
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