Lending Our Support to Those in China Combatting COVID-19

A global coalition of public health scientists, including several from EcoHealth Alliance, released a statement in support of scientists, public health, and medical professionals battling COVID-19. The statement praises the speed and transparency of the work being done in China to try to stop and contain the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have watched as the scientists, public health, and medical professionals of China, in particular, have worked diligently and effectively to rapidly identify the pathogen behind this outbreak, put in place significant measures to reduce its impact, and share their results transparently with the global health community. This effort has been remarkable.”

The admirable work of these scientists is now plagued by rumors suggesting foul play in regards to the origin of COVID-19. Scientists from multiple countries have analyzed the genome of the causative virus and confirmed that it originated in wildlife, as many outbreak-inducing viruses do.

Supplementary to the statement in The Lancet is a petition available for anyone to sign offering their support for those in China working around the clock to curb the spread of COVID-19. It reads, in part:

Following the events around the emergence of COVID-19 in China, international scientists have been dismayed by the spreading of rumors, misinformation and conspiracy theories on the virus’ origins. These rumors are now specifically targeting scientists and health professionals who have been working extremely hard to fight this outbreak and have shared data with unprecedented speed, openness, and transparency. Some of these scientists have already received threats of violence to their families and themselves. These rumors and conspiracy theories threaten to undermine the very global collaborations that are vital to combat this disease that has already spread across continents, and for that reason have been condemned by many, including repeatedly by the WHO Director-General, and the Director of The Wellcome Trust.