Public health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci will appear in a discussion alongside Chinese scientist Zhong Nanshan — who claimed last year that the Chinese coronavirus originated not in Wuhan, China, but in “multiple birthplaces around the globe” at an online public health forum for the University of Edinburgh in March, Chinese media outlets reported this week.
The March 2 event marks the first public dialogue between Zhong and Fauci on the subject of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic since the two medical professionals began advising their respective nations on how to combat the Chinese coronavirus in late 2019 and early 2020. Zhong and Fauci will launch a series of debates at the University of Edinburgh analyzing the future implications and long-term impacts of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish university announced on January 28.
“The easing of the epidemic situation in the U.S. will have a positive impact on the country, the world as well as China-U.S. relations, especially for the exchanges between Chinese and U.S. scholars,” Zhong said in an interview with Guangzhou Daily, a provincial Chinese Communist Party (CCP) newspaper, on January 31.
Speaking to reporters after a Chinese coronavirus “control event” in Guangzhou province on Sunday, Zhong said he looked forward to his future dialogue with Fauci, adding that they “share some similar views.” Zhong said he will also discuss the Chinese coronavirus pandemic “with experts from Harvard Medical School next week.”
Zhong currently leads the Chinese National Health Commission’s expert panel investigating the Chinese coronavirus outbreak in China. He infamously floated a theory in late February 2020 that the Chinese coronavirus — first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 — “might have multiple birthplaces co-existing around the globe.”
“Zhong Nanshan, once a hero, has been reduced to a propaganda worker. This recent statement from Zhong is laying the groundwork for blaming others – especially the US – for spreading the #coronavirus to #China. Zhong must know his words are ludicrous and dangerous,” Gordon Chang, a Chinese-American author and lawyer, wrote on Twitter of Zhong’s decision to peddle CCP conspiracy theories without any evidence.
The first documented case of Chinese coronavirus in humans occurred in November 2019 in Wuhan, China, according to leaked Chinese government documents. No evidence exists that the virus had jumped from a zoonotic source to humans anywhere else in the world prior to that first case.
One year after Zhong claimed the Chinese coronavirus originated outside of China, virologist Shi Zhengli pushed a similar theory in the January 2021 edition of Science Magazine, alleging the virus first arrived in China via imported frozen food packages. In the magazine, Shi “referred to a number of studies that, she said, suggest the virus existed outside of China before Wuhan’s first known case in December 2019,” according to the BBC.
“Given the finding of Sars-Cov-2 [the Chinese coronavirus] on the surface of imported food packages, contact with contaminated uncooked food could be an important source of Sars-Cov-2 transmission,” she wrote. Shi Zhengli directs the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.