March 15. A member of the World Health Organization investigative team says wildlife farms in southern China are the most likely source of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China shut down those wildlife farms in February 2020, says Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist with EcoHealth Alliance and a member of the WHO delegation that traveled to China this year. During that trip, Daszak says, the WHO team found new evidence that these wildlife farms were supplying vendors at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan with animals.
The market was shut down overnight on Dec. 31, 2019, after it was linked to cases of what was then described as a mysterious pneumonia-like illness. Daszak and others on the WHO team believe that the wildlife farms provided a perfect conduit between a coronavirus-infected bat in Yunnan (or neighboring Myanmar) and a Wuhan animal market.
The next step, says Daszak, is to figure out specifically which animal carried the virus and at which of the many wildlife farms.