RNA - An American journalist claimed one US military athlete in the delegation could be patient zero of the deadly new disease.
George Webb, an investigative journalist in Washington, DC claimed in recent videos and tweets that he believes Maatje Benassi, an armed diplomatic driver and cyclist who was in Wuhan in October for the cycling competition in the Military World Games, could be patient zero of COVID-19 in Wuhan.
[According to] a report by the US Department of Defense official website on October 25, Maatje Benassi has participated 50-mile cycling road race in Wuhan.
Webb also quoted a military lab, the Fort Detrick laboratory that handles high-level disease-causing organisms such as Ebola, in Fredrick, Maryland, which was shut down and moved in July due to unqualified facilities and management system.
His conclusions, although without strong evidence, triggered questions on Chinese social media as it came only days after a petition was submitted to the White House website on March 10 listing some coincidences in time between the Fort Detrick lab’s closure and the COVID-19 outbreak.
Many Chinese netizens have urged the US to test Benassi for COVID-19 and release information on the US delegation.
Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the US government needs to respond to the controversy and publish the relevant information regarding their health status and infection record to clear public doubts and help with the scientific study on the virus’ origin.
US politicians have been contending the novel coronavirus is “Made in China,” while global scientists, including those in the US, have not found strong evidence to prove the virus’ origin.
Given this situation, it is important to trace any suspicious points, the US delegation to the Wuhan games in this scenario, and find out what really happened, Li said.
COVID-19, a deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has infected more than 330,000 people around the world and killed more than 14,000.
Identifying the origin will help develop effective therapy on the disease. The US should provide information of the delegation members to support related research, Li said.
Earlier in March, Zhao Lijian, an outspoken Chinese diplomat, raised a suspicion on his personal Twitter account that it might have been the US army representatives to the Military World Games who brought the novel coronavirus to Wuhan in October 2019, after a top US health official admitted detecting coronavirus infections on some deceased flu patients. Zhao urged the US to disclose further information, exercise transparency on coronavirus cases and provide an explanation to the public.
Source: Global Times