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An Italian doctor is now key to China’s efforts to sow confusion over the coronavirus’s origins

EUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
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This story has been updated with comment from Giuseppe Remuzzi.

China’s attempts to dissociate itself from the origins of the coronavirus outbreak got an apparent boost thanks to an interview given by an Italian doctor to American media.

The article in question, published by NPR on March 19, examined the impact of the current pandemic on Italy’s health care system. What caught the attention of people in China, however, was the final line in the report, where an Italian medical expert called Giuseppe Remuzzi said, citing doctors: “They remember having seen very strange pneumonia, very severe, particularly in old people in December and even November… This means that the virus was circulating, at least in [the northern region of] Lombardy and before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China.”

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