A year after first death in China, coronavirus source still a puzzle

A year after first death in China, coronavirus source still a puzzle

WUHAN, CHINA – It is the world’s most pressing scientific puzzle, but experts warn there may never be conclusive answers over the source of the coronavirus, after an investigative effort marked from the start by disarray, Chinese secrecy and international rancor.

Jan. 11 marks the anniversary of China confirming its first death from COVID-19, a 61-year-old man who was a regular at the now-notorious Wuhan wet market.

Nearly 2 million deaths later, the pandemic is out of control across much of the world, leaving tens of millions ill, a pulverized global economy and recriminations flying between nations.

Yet China, which has broadly controlled the pandemic on its soil, is still frustrating independent attempts to trace the virus’s origins and the central question of how it jumped from animals to humans.