ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) — The United States intelligence community remains divided tonight about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some reports suggesting the virus was caused by a lab leak and others saying it was caused by animals.
Local experts say we may never know for sure. Epidemiologist and Erie News Now contributor Dr. Becky Dawson says tracing viruses is hard, bordering on impossible.
She said finding COVID’s origin won’t solve anything about this pandemic but it’s still useful, because understanding the origin can help us develop policies to prevent a future pandemic.
However, because of the way viruses spread and mutate, finding a definitive beginning could take decades, if one can even be found.
“We have spent years and years and years looking for the source of viruses, everything from the Ebola virus to Marburg trying to figure out what animal caused them,” said Dr. Dawson. “And in some cases its taken decades to get a definitive answer this is how it started from animals.”
Dawson says the perhaps the biggest lesson of all is the need for better-funded preventative health services.
The world spent trillions trying to manage a virus that better containment and public health measures might have been able to prevent in the first place.