China criticizes Harvard COVID-19 study and says it is full of holes


Beijing on Thursday criticized a preliminary study by American researchers suggesting that the coronavirus could circulate in China since August 2019, calling it evidence of a disinformation campaign.

The virus first appeared at the end of last year in the central city of Wuhan, but the United States has repeatedly accused China of a lack of transparency about the epidemic and its origins.

The new document from researchers at Boston University and Harvard – which has not been peer reviewed – has analyzed photos of Wuhan hospital parking lots and search trends on the Chinese search engine Baidu.

The team led by Elaine Nsoesie of Boston University said they found “a large increase in volume from August 2019” on the parking lots of Wuhan hospital, “culminating in a peak in December 2019”.

The authors said that even if they could not definitively confirm that the data they were documenting was linked to the virus, this supported conclusions drawn by other research suggesting that the virus had started to circulate earlier than the first cases reported in late 2019.

But the Chinese Foreign Ministry criticized the newspaper as “full of holes” and “grossly fabricated”.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday that the study was evidence of coordinated efforts in the United States to “deliberately create and disseminate disinformation against China”.

“Some American politicians and media have acted as if they have found buried and spilled treasures without reason (the study), treating them as new evidence that China has concealed the epidemic,” Hua told reporters during the interview ‘a regular press point.

According to the official chronology of the pandemic in China, the first cases of COVID-19 were spotted by doctors in Wuhan in December and they shared the genome sequence with the World Health Organization (WHO) in early January.

Imperial College London, in collaboration with WHO, also traced the family tree of the virus, saying it appeared in China around December 5.

Governments – including the United States and Australia – have in recent months called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, with President Donald Trump repeatedly pushing the conspiracy theory that the virus originated from a Chinese laboratory.

Trump tweeted a Fox News video segment on the Harvard study on Wednesday without any further comments.

(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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