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The virus has spread across the global, infecting millions and causing incredible damage to public health and the economy. As of July 6, coronavirus has infected 11,366,145 worldwide. It has also killed 532,644, according to John Hopkins University.
Dr Tom Jefferson, senior associate tutor at the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) at Oxford, believes that COVID-19 may have emerged due to environmental conditions.
Dr Jefferson believes that viruses often lay dormant around the globe, and emerge and vanish depending on the conditions for viral spread.
He added that he was skeptical a case of the virus in the Falkland Islands came from China.
Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: “Where did SARS 1 go? It’s just disappeared, so we have to think about these things.
“We need to start researching the ecology of the virus, understanding how it originates and mutates.”
The first SARS outbreak stopped suddenly, being discovered in 2002 and declared over by July 2003 by the World Health Organisation.
It’s total death toll was 8,096, which COVID-19 surpassed on February 9.
Dr Jefferson continued: “I think the virus was already here, here meaning everywhere.
“We may be seeing a dormant virus that has been activated by environmental conditions.
“There was a case in the Falkland Islands in early February.
“Now where did that come from? There was a cruise ship that went from South Georgia to Buenos Aires, and the passengers were screened and then on day eight, when they started sailing towards the Weddell Sea, they got the first case.
“Was it in prepared food that was defrosted and activated? “
Jefferson added: “Strange things like this happened with Spanish Flu.
“In 1918 around 30 per cent of the population of Western Samoa died of Spanish Flu, and they hadn’t had any communication with the outside world.
“The explanation for this could only be that these agents don’t come or go anywhere.
“They are always here and something ignites them, maybe human density or environmental conditions, and this is what we should be looking for.”
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Both Dr Jefferson and Professor Car Henegehan wrote in the Telegraph calling for an in-depth investigation into how the virus spreads through meatpacking and food plants, as well as shared toilet facilities, which they believe could uncover major insight into new transmission routes.
Dr Jefferson said: “We’re doing a living review, extracting environmental conditions, the ecology of these viruses which has been grossly understudied.
“There is quite a lot of evidence that huge amounts of the virus in sewage all over the place, and an increasing amount of evidence there is faecal transmission.
“There is a high concentration where sewage is four degrees, which is the ideal temperature for it to be stabled and presumably activated.
“And meatpacking plants are often at four degrees.”
Dr Jefferson concludes: “These meat packing clusters and isolated outbreaks don’t fit with respiratory theory, they fit with people who haven’t washed their hands properly.
“These outbreaks need to be investigated properly with people on the ground one by one.”
It follows Spanish virologists discovering trace evidence of coronavirus in waste water collected in March 2019.
Italian scientists also found the virus in sewage from Milan and Turin from mid-December.
It is a major break from the prevailing notion amongst scientists that the virus emerged in Wuhan, China, and then spread.
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