Reports are now emerging that COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory not as a bioweapon, but instead as part of China’s effort to prove that it is equal to or better than the United States in identifying and fighting viruses.
That is according to multiple sources who have told American media outlets they were briefed on the details of early actions by China’s government and have seen relevant materials.
This may be the “costliest government cover-up of all time,” one of the sources allegedly said.
Those sources believe the first transmission of the coronavirus was bat-to-human, and that “patient zero” worked at the laboratory, and then went into the population in Wuhan.
When asked by Fox News’ John Roberts about the reporting, President Trump responded at Wednesday’s coronavirus press briefing, “More and more we’re hearing the story…we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation.”
Documents detail early efforts by doctors at the lab in Wuhan and early efforts at containment there. The Wuhan wet market, which was initially identified as a possible origination point for the virus, never sold bats.
In addition, sources say that placing blame on the wet market was an effort by the Chinese government to deflect responsibility from the laboratory, in addition to the country’s propaganda efforts targeting the U.S. and Italy.
Meanwhile, the top U.S. general said earlier this week that evidence that the coronavirus originated at a Chinese research lab is “inconclusive.” That follows a report from The Washington Post that U.S. officials warned of safety concerns at a research facility in the Chinese city of Wuhan two years ago.
“We’ve had a lot of intelligence take a hard look at that,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters on Tuesday. “At this point it’s inconclusive, although the weight of the evidence seems to indicate natural. But we don’t know for certain.”
His comments came just hours after The Washington Post reported that U.S. officials were concerned about inadequate safety at a Wuhan lab that had been conducting studies on coronavirus from bats.
According to the newspaper, U.S. officials who had visited the lab dispatched diplomatic cables in early 2018 to Washington, warning the Trump administration about safety and management weaknesses at the lab, and also that the facility’s work on bat coronaviruses represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic.
Milley’s statement contradicts that of Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, who denied the notion that the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory as part of experiments involving bioweapons.
“And if I could just be clear, there is nothing to that,” Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon, said on April 6. “Someone asked me if I was worried. That is not something that I’m worried about. I think, you know, right now what we’re concerned about is how do we treat people who are sick, how do we prevent people from getting sick. But no, I am not worried about this as a bioweapon.”