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Trail Blazers: A new pathogen emerges

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives

Still controversial is the “anniversary” date of the COVID-19 pandemic — many online sources cite it as Nov. 17, 2019 — the day the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Wuhan, China.

Some online searches, however, reveal the World Health Organization (WHO) did not officially announce the emergence of a new pathogen until Dec. 31, 2019.

In January 2020, WHO reports it “conducted the first mission to Wuhan and met with public health officials to learn about the response to the cluster of cases of novel coronavirus.”

According to (official WHO website) in mid-February 2020, the WHO-China Joint Mission began its work. As part of the mission to assess the seriousness of this new disease; its transmission dynamics; and the nature and impact of China’s control measures, teams made field visits to Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan and Wuhan. The mission consisted of 25 national and international professionals from the People’s Republic of China, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Singapore, the United States and WHO. Throughout the global outbreak, WHO regularly sent missions to countries to learn from and support responses, at the request of the affected member state. Particularly in the early stages of the worldwide COVID-19 response, missions went to countries facing relatively high levels of community transmission, such as Iran, Italy, and Spain.

Much still has to be learned about the origin of the disease, the worldwide response, and subsequent treatments. For this week’s Trail Blazers we look at some sights around the city during the pandemic.

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Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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