Let the detectives do their work

Coronavirus Daily

Here's the latest news from the global pandemic.

Let the detectives do their work

Detectives usually visit the scene of a crime to solve a mystery, and that holds true for medical investigators as well.

While initial reports of the novel coronavirus surfaced in December, it wasn't until Jan. 20 that China let a World Health Organization mission into Wuhan, where the virus was first reported. The delay in finding evidence of human-to-human transmission was one reason the WHO didn't declare the outbreak a global health emergency until the end of January.

France, Germany and Chile have recently proposed strengthening the WHO's rapid-response capabilities, enabling the United Nations body to dispatch researchers to countries as soon as new diseases appear.

Numerous countries have voiced support for such reform, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. At an executive board meeting of the WHO this week, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir said the ideas France and Germany floated in their report echoed earlier calls for reform from his country, which has pledged to exit the WHO.

Brett Giroir, U.S. assistant secretary for health, demonstrates a Covid-19 test.

Photographer: Ken Cedeno/Sipa

The problem may be getting China on board. Months after the WHO announced plans for a second mission to Wuhan to investigate the virus's animal origin, Beijing still hasn't approved the list of scientists for that team, further delaying much-needed research.

The WHO has repeatedly said the world's response to Covid-19 has been faster than ever as China supplied data about the genome within two weeks of its discovery. If even more information became available that quickly, imagine how much that could speed the race for a cure.—John Lauerman

Track the virus

Mapping the Outbreak Around the World


What you should read

How the World's Biggest Slum Stopped the Virus
Dharavi contained Covid; now its people need to survive economic disaster.
Virus Forces Europe to Confront Its Internet Issues
Governments are starting to engage with the industry to spur investments.
Japan's Suicides Show Covid Mental Health Toll
August number rose as more women, school-aged children took own lives.
Say Bye to Your Local Cafe in America's Shakeup
Coffee chains expand grip as independent cafes struggle with pandemic. 
CDC Adds Overweight People to Risk Warning
Not just the obese may be at high risk of serious disease from Covid-19.

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