The former CIA director and secretary of state under President Donald Trump says the Wuhan Institute of Virology is “still up and running” — the same lab from which the virus that causes COVID-19 may have originated according to the Biden administration, which is now demanding an investigation from lawmakers.
“That virology lab is still up and running. It’s still probably conducting the same kinds of research it was conducting that may have well led to this virus escaping from that laboratory,” Mike Pompeo said on Fox News.
Pompeo said there is “enormous evidence” that SARS CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, escaped from the lab.
“What I can say for sure is this: we know that they were engaged in efforts connected to the People’s Liberation Army inside of that laboratory, so military activity being performed alongside what they claimed was just good old civilian research,” Pompeo said. “They refuse to tell us what it was, they refuse to describe the nature of either of those, they refused to allow access to the World Health Organization when it tried to get in there.”
Experts agree that the pandemic originated in Wuhan, but social media outlets like Facebook and others have, until recently, banned posts that say the virus originated in a lab. In the last few weeks, though, reports have circulated that the virus may have originated in the Wuhan facility, and even members of President Joe Biden’s cabinet are demanding answers.
The Wall Street Journal last week reported that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.
“The details of the reporting go beyond a State Department fact sheet, issued during the final days of the Trump administration, which said that several researchers at the lab, a center for the study of coronaviruses and other pathogens, became sick in autumn 2019 ‘with symptoms consistent with both Covid-19 and common seasonal illness,’” The Journal reported. “The disclosure of the number of researchers, the timing of their illnesses and their hospital visits come on the eve of a meeting of the World Health Organization’s decision-making body, which is expected to discuss the next phase of an investigation into Covid-19’s origins.”
With Republicans on Capitol Hill demanding more information about where the virus originated, Dr. Anthony Fauci — who has repeatedly declared it came from a bat — appeared to double back on his earlier suggestion that the virus moved from animals to humans.
A top Biden cabinet member last week demanded that the World Health Organization (WHO) launch a more “transparent” investigation into the origins of COVID-19 as Republican lawmakers seek answers and top scientists admit the virus could have come from a Chinese lab.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Tuesday said in an address to the World Health Assembly, a conference organized by the WHO, that independent experts worldwide must be allowed to “fully assess the source of the virus and the early days of the outbreak.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic not only stole a year from our lives, it stole millions of lives,” Becerra said. “Now we must honor our departed by taking urgent action this year — to strengthen health security and pandemic preparedness so that we are better prepared for the next global health crisis.”
Other top U.S. health officials have also begun to muse about the origins of the virus. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said it is “possible” the virus was “lab-based.