Published Tuesday, February 9, 2021
No evidence of covid-19
outbreaks in China, say experts
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services
The leader of international experts investigating the origins of covid-19 in China says they saw no evidence of large outbreaks of the disease prior to its December 2019 discovery in the city of Wuhan, according to Voice of America Journal, VOA, the U.S. government news agency funded by the U.S. Congress.
According to VOA report, Peter Ben Embarek, an expert in viral illnesses for the World Health Organization, said Tuesday in Wuhan that his team’s findings indicate covid-19 probably originated in bats, but says it is unlikely the bats were in Wuhan.
The team visited the city’s Huanan Seafood Market, which was initially believed to be the epicenter of the outbreak, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and laboratories at state facilities, including the Wuhan Center for Disease Control.
Embarek said at a news conference the theory that the virus leaked from a laboratory is extremely unlikely, and that his team will not investigate it further.
Embarek said the most likely pathway for the virus was a crossover into humans from an intermediary species, which he said “could have been very convoluted.” He also said the idea that COVID-19 can be transmitted through trade in frozen products is possible.
Dr. Liang Wannian, an expert with China’s Health Commission, told reporters at the briefing the novel coronavirus could have been circulating in other regions before it was officially identified in Wuhan.
The WHO dispatched Embarek and his 10-member team to Wuhan last month to track down the source of the virus, which has killed more than 2.3 million people among more than 106 million infected worldwide.
While in Costa Rica, the Ministry of Health shared on Monday the most updated statistics about the impacts of the virus in the country:
• 210 new covid-19 cases are reported, bringing the total to 36,460 current active cases.
• 24,407 foreign-born people have been infected as part of the 197,435 cases since March, approximately 12.3% of the total cases. Of these, authorities confirmed the death of 32 foreign-born patients. But since October, there is no updated information about foreign-born deaths due to covid-19.
• 368 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 162 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions. Their ages range from 24 to 94-years-old. And 206 patients are in recovery rooms. Many of the remaining infected patients are quarantined in their homes.
• 158,283 patients have fully recovered, an 80.1% recovery rate of the total cases since March.
• 617,086 covid-19 tests have been conducted in Costa Rica since March, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering of Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.
• 2,692 deaths are listed as covid-19 related, approximately 1.4% death rate. Of these 1,012 are women and 1,680 men. The ages range from a 2-year-old to a 101-year-old.
• 75,113 doses of covid-19 vaccines have been applied since December 2020. Reaching a national vaccination rate of 1.45 per 100 inhabitants. Of those already vaccinated, 63,775 were applied to first responders and 11,338 to the elderly in long-stay homes and workers in these centers, according to Social Security.
Readers can see the current number of infected people in each district at the National Distance Education University on its Covid-19 Map.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic has killed more than 2.3 million people worldwide.
What should the authorities do to speed up the vaccination campaign in the country? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org