After the World Health Organization’s coronavirus investigators were barred from entering China, the team landed in the country on Thursday—more than a year after the initial outbreak, long after key locations like the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market were scrubbed, sanitized, and sealed up.
Chinese authorities say there were “visa clearance” issues, but one of Beijing’s conditions was to screen each expert put forward by the public health agency. Cover-ups and obfuscation by China’s officials have slowed down the response to COVID-19’s spread, and the quest to pinpoint the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the deadly disease that has swept across the globe, may not yield consequential results.
Part of the initial outbreak seemed to have taken place at the Huanan wet market, where a variety of wildlife, like wolf cubs and peacocks, were bought and sold for their meat. Some of the first patients who were diagnosed with a mysterious, deadly disease, which was later designated as COVID-19, worked or had spent time there.