Investigating the pandemic’s genesis is critical for another reason — this is not the first deadly disease to spread globally from China. A Chinese coverup of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak triggered the world’s first 21st-century pandemic. Getting to the bottom of how the latest pathogen flared and spread is essential for designing rapid-response efforts to prevent a future local disease outbreak from spiraling into yet another pandemic.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) agrees. This is the organization whose repeated deference helped Beijing to cover its tracks, prompting President Donald Trump to say recently that the WHO“should be ashamed of themselves because they are like the public-relations agency for China.” In fact, several countries seeking an inquiry want the investigation to focus on the pandemic-related roles of both China and the WHO.