Fox News reported late on Wednesday that U.S. officials say that the coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab, and that Chinese communist officials blamed a wet market in Wuhan to deflect blame from the lab and destroyed evidence from the lab.
“COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory not as a bioweapon, but as part of China’s effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States, multiple sources who have been briefed on the details of early actions by China’s government and seen relevant materials tell Fox News,” Fox News reported. “The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus was bat-to-human, and that ‘patient zero’ worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan.”
“Documents detail early efforts by doctors at the lab and early efforts at containment. The Wuhan wet market initially identified as a possible point of origin never sold bats, and the sources tell Fox News that blaming the wet market was an effort by China to deflect blame from the laboratory, along with the country’s propaganda efforts targeting the U.S. and Italy,” Fox News continued. “China ‘100 percent’ suppressed data and changed data, the sources tell Fox News. Samples were destroyed, contaminated areas scrubbed, some early reports erased, and academic articles stifled.”
A U.S. official told Fox News that this was potentially the “costliest government coverup of all time.”
Fox News’ report came after the network’s White House correspondent, John Roberts, said during the Coronavirus Task Force press briefing on Wednesday, “Multiple sources are telling Fox News today that the United States government now has high confidence that while the coronavirus is a naturally occurring virus, it emanated from a virology lab in Wuhan. That because of lack safety protocols, an intern was infected who later infected her boyfriend, and then went to the wet market in Wuhan where it began to spread.”
“Does that correspond to with what you have heard from officials?” Roberts asked.
“Well, I don’t want to say that John, but I will tell you, more and more we’re hearing the story and we’ll see,” Trump responded. “When you say multiple sources, now there’s a case where you can use the word ‘sources.’ But we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened.”
“In your many conversations with President Xi, Mr. President, did you ever discuss with him State Department concerns about lack safety protocols that had been reported to the State Department from the embassy in Beijing about that laboratory?” Roberts asked.
“I don’t want to discuss what I talked to him about the laboratory,” Trump said. “I just don’t want to discuss it. It’s inappropriate right now.”
The news comes after The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the State Department had repeatedly warned in 2018 that the Wuhan lab was conducting coronavirus research on bats and that there were safety concerns at the lab.
“In January 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had in 2015 become China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (known as BSL-4),” The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin reported Tuesday. “What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables categorized as Sensitive But Unclassified back to Washington.”
One U.S. official told The Post, “The cable was a warning shot. They were begging people to pay attention to what was going on.”
“The idea that it was just a totally natural occurrence is circumstantial,” the official continued. “The evidence it leaked from the lab is circumstantial. Right now, the ledger on the side of it leaking from the lab is packed with bullet points and there’s almost nothing on the other side.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.