U.S. intelligence has “increasing confidence” that the novel Wuhan coronavirus outbreak began in a lab that was researching bat-coronaviruses, contrary to China’s claim that the pandemic emerged from a Wuhan wet market, according to multiple sources that briefed Fox News.
The sources told Fox News that the initial transmission of the virus looks to be bat-to-human, and that “patient zero” contracted the disease while working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, before going into the general population. While the lab is China’s first to achieve the highest level of international bio-research safety, known as BSL-4, its work with bats had been conducted at the lower protection level of BSL-2.
President Trump did not deny the bombshell when asked about details during Wednesday’s coronavirus press conference.
“More and more we’re hearing the story . . . we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation,” he stated.
Sources also confirmed that China used the wet market theory, which was parroted by the World Health Organization, to disguise and deflect exploration into the origins of the virus. The Chinese Communist Party has restricted research into the pandemic’s origins, while documents obtained by The Washington Post this week show that in 2018, U.S. officials warned the lab’s work with bats and “shortage” of safety protocols could lead to a “future emerging coronavirus outbreak.”
National Review has also detailed how job postings from November and December show the Wuhan Institute of Virology confirming “the origin of bats of major new human and livestock infectious diseases” with new research.
Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) first warned that the origins of the coronavirus were unknown, citing a Chinese study which found that the first documented coronavirus case in Wuhan had no connection to the market, but was vilified by U.S. media outlets for suggesting the virus could have come from the lab.
Democrats have been largely dismissive of claims of Chinese duplicity, instead focusing criticism on the Trump administration’s response. “The reason that we are in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, not because of anything the WHO did, it’s because of what this president did,” Senator Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) said Tuesday.
While President Trump has praised China publicly for its response, saying on March 27 that he was “working closely together” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, officials explained to Fox News that the comments were diplomatic in nature and aimed at making Beijing “feel good” while U.S. investigations were ongoing.