Last Monday, the American newspaper The Washington Post presented another suggestion about the origin of COVID-19, citing expert opinion.
According to this theory, the new coronavirus could be transmitted to humans from wild animals infected by bats, writes TASS… Such animals are kept on many Chinese farms. For example, in Enshi county (Hubei) there are small farms where thousands of animals live – raccoon dogs, badgers, civets. And very close by there are hundreds of caves inhabited by at least seven species of bats. In one species, a virus was found that was 96% identical to SARS-CoV-2.
Scientists believe that the transmission of the virus to humans could be carried out through intermediate hosts – animals on farms. According to official data, in this county, as of 2020, there were 290 farms in operation, and the number of animals on them varied from 450 to 780 thousand.
Correspondent The Washington Post in September, he visited Enshi, from which it is a six-hour drive from Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected. He says that from most of the farms to the caves one and a half kilometers. Thus, the infection of animals is quite possible, and then they were sold in the markets of Wuhan. Direct human infection is also possible – the caves are visited by tourists, cavers, researchers, workers servicing the drinking water pump.
Interestingly, writes The Washington Post that WHO, as part of the study of the origin of the coronavirus, requested access to areas where animals were kept on farms. But … Beijing refused. And at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, when asked by the publication about checking residents for the presence of a new coronavirus, they could not give specific information about whether it was carried out at all, and if so, what results were obtained. The diplomatic officer only assured that at the beginning of last year the trade in wild animals for consumption in China was prohibited.
In March, a report was published, prepared jointly by the World Health Organization and China, following a WHO investigation in Wuhan earlier this year. There was a very high probability of the chain of infection – from bats to animals, and then to humans. But it is still unclear how the virus got to the Huanan Seafood Market, where the first outbreak of COVID-19 diseases was recorded.