| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

AP Exclusive: Joint WHO-China Study Reveals COVID Likely’ Transmitted from Bats to Human Through Other Animals

A draft copy of a joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 concluded that the “transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario” for the emergence of the virus, according to the Associated Press.

A lab leak of the virus to the public was deemed “extremely unlikely” by the joint investigation, the AP said.

The study also revealed that minks and cats “are susceptible to the COVID virus, which suggests they could also be carriers.”

A Geneva-based diplomat from a WHO-member country shared the study that “appeared to be a near-final version” with the AP on Monday but the news agency did not reveal the identity of the diplomat because the diplomat was not authorized to release the information before its publication.

The report is “based largely” on a visit that a team of international experts made earlier this year to Wuhan, the location in China were the coronavirus first emerged.

Mexico has revised its coronavirus death toll figures, increasing the tally by 60% to make Mexico’s death count second only to the United States and overtaking Brazil as the place with the second highest death count.

The new statistics are staggering as the Mexican population of 126 million is far below the populations of the U.S. and Brazil.

The Mexican health ministry released the data Saturday that raised the country’s COVID death count to more than 321,000. The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is more than 549,000, while Brazil’s is more than 312,000, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Public health analysts had warned that Mexico’s death count was likely higher than previous figures had indicated because the country’s healthcare system was overwhelmed by the pandemic, resulting in few available intensive care beds that led to many people dying at home whose deaths had not been included in the COVID count. The new numbers follow a government review of death certificates.

While the United States’ vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is well under way, daily rates of infection remain high.

Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top adviser on the pandemic, expressed concern Sunday that this could be the result of states lifting some restrictions too early — especially around Spring Break.

“I think it is premature,” Fauci told CBS, speaking of some states lifting restrictions as vaccination rates rise, warning that there is “really a risk” of seeing a third epidemic wave.

Answering reporters’ questions Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden said he believes rates may be plateauing, instead of decreasing, because people are “letting their guard down.”

Last Thursday, Biden pledged to put 200 million shots into arms in his first 100 days as president. On Sunday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported Sunday that more than 51.5 million Americans have received at least one coronavirus shot and 93.6 million have received both of their shots.