I-TEAM: Is the coronavirus a form of bio-terrorism? Doctors put the rumors to rest.

Friday, April 3, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12

(Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- There is new information that could shed some light on how the coronavirus pandemic got out of hand, and it all has to do with a classified White House Intelligence report.

Multiple sources say the report shows how China greatly under-reported the number of positive coronavirus cases and deaths in the county.

Our I-TEAM has also been asking questions, and according to local experts, bio-terrorism can be ruled out.

There are many theories about how the virus spread, some of the craziest found on social media and now an infectious disease expert at AU Health can put those rumors to rest.

The entire planet is at war with the same enemy -- an army of microscopic parasites. Once they invade, they move to take over the bodies of those they infected.

"It's a moving target. And it's a moving target because every week we learn something different, something new," Dr. Jose Vazquez of AU Health said.

The coronavirus is a powerful weapon, seemingly attacked thousands of people, one after another. But at least researchers can say, it's not an actual weapon.

"We now know it was not created, humans. Remember that was a theory that was tossed out there for a while here by some politicians, okay," Vazquez said. "We know that was about because it's not a great virus. It's not. A researcher would have done a better job creating a more deadly virus and a virus that infects better."

That news can be both comforting and alarming if you think about it.­

The CDC breaks bioterrorism agents into three categories -- A, B, and C-- with A being the highest priority.

For viruses to be an A:
- Pose a risk to national security because they can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person.
- Result in high mortality rates and have the potential for major public health impact
- Cause public panic and social disruption, and require special action for public health preparedness

Coronavirus definitely checks all these boxes, even though Dr. Vazquez says it's not a great virus. However, it's for certain that this virus isn't the work of a terrorist in a lab, but some still might find what he says terrifying.

"We think the bulk of the virus actually comes from bats," Vazquez said.

That might not be a surprise, but the spikes on the virus?

"So those apparently, probably came from pangolins," he added.

If you're not familiar with that animal -- it's a scaly anteater.

But wait -- According to Dr. Vazquez, there's more.

"And then another part of it looks like it came from snakes - don't know what snake it is -- but it looks like it's a merger of these viruses," he said.

From these three animals, in a perfect storm to create this new contagious cocktail: the coronavirus.

"Obviously, somebody ate that virus, or somebody touched the animal that had the virus, touch their eyes touched your nose. And that's how it happens, and that probably what happened," Vaquez said.

And from there, it spread person to person -- from continent to continent. And now the virus is present on every continent in the world except for Antarctica.

And if the world is going to beat this thing, doctors say it's important to take our marching orders seriously -- and stay home.

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