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The Los Angeles Times interviewed Dr. Marc Suchard, UCLA Fielding School professor of biostatistics, about a study in the journal Science that suggests the COVID-19 virus jumped to humans from animals in a wholesale market in Wuhan, China
Conspiracy theorists need little more than suspicion, some cherry-picked facts and vibrant imaginations to spin tales about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. But for the scientists working to establish the facts, the path to the truth is much more plodding.
Their search will take them through a trove of medical records whose quotidian details will be important guideposts to the time and circumstances of the coronavirus’ birth as a human pathogen. Patients’ recall of their whereabouts and contacts will matter too.
But even if the Chinese government were willing to open all its patient files to international investigators — it currently is not — symptom reports and patients’ memories can be fallible and confusing. Researchers need to check every fact as they ferret out the story, piece by piece.