‘All Hypotheses’ on the Table Regarding COVID-19 Origins, WHO Chief Says 

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general says despite leaked reports about the results of the agency-sponsored probe into the origins of virus that causes COVID-19, all theories remain on the table and will be studied further. The Associated Press reported Sunday a draft copy of a joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 concluded that the “transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario” for the emergence of the virus, and a lab leak of the virus to the public was deemed “extremely unlikely” by the joint investigation. During a news conference from Geneva, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged that he had received the report over the weekend and that it would be formally presented by the mission experts Tuesday. He added, “All hypotheses are on the table and warrant complete and further studies from what I have seen so far.” FILE – Peter Ben Embarek of the World Health Organization holds up a chart showing pathways of transmission of the virus during a press conference in Wuhan, China, Feb. 9, 2021.The WHO sent an international team to China earlier this year to explore the origins of the virus. But critics of that study say it was limited to only what China allowed them allowed them to see.  Death toll The report comes as the number of global coronavirus cases is at least 127,289,043 as of Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. More than 2,785,682 people have died from COVID-19 around the world. Mexico has revised its coronavirus death toll figures, increasing the tally by 60%, which makes it one of the top three nations with the highest death toll. The new statistics are staggering as the Mexican population of 126 million is far below the populations of the U.S. and Brazil. FILE – People wait to receive the first dose of China’s Sinovac Biotech CoronaVac vaccine against COVID-19, in Ecatepec, Mexico state, Feb. 22, 2021.Public health analysts had warned that Mexico’s death count was likely higher than previous figures had indicated because the country’s healthcare system was overwhelmed by the pandemic, resulting in few available intensive care beds that led to many people dying at home whose deaths had not been included in the COVID count. The new numbers follow a government review of death certificates. Late Sunday, Mexico received 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, the foreign ministry said.  The vaccines were part of the 2.7 million doses the U.S. promised its southern neighbor in a pact reached earlier this month between the two countries.  The AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in Mexico but has not yet been approved for use in the U.S., which has stockpiled the shots.  US infections plateau While the United States’ vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is well under way, daily rates of infection remain high. FILE – U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci speaks at the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Jan. 21, 2021.Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top adviser on the pandemic, expressed concern Sunday that this could be the result of states lifting some restrictions too early — especially around Spring Break. “I think it is premature,” Fauci told CBS, speaking of some states lifting restrictions as vaccination rates rise, warning that there is “really a risk” of seeing a third epidemic wave. Answering reporters’ questions Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden said he believes rates may be plateauing, instead of decreasing, because people are “letting their guard down.” 


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