Biden says U.S. intelligence community divided on COVID-19 origin

Anthony Fauci

Anthony Fauci

Earlier Wednesday, President Joe Biden said he was giving the intelligence community 90 days to produce a report on whether the coronavirus emerged from an infected animal or from a leak at a lab in Wuhan, China.

In a surprise statement, Biden announced that the US intelligence community had delivered a report to him earlier this month on the virus's origins.

"In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of Covid-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that Covid-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps", the statement said. It remains unclear whether the afflicted researchers were hospitalized or what their symptoms were, one of the sources said. An earlier report by the Wall Street Journal citing an unidentified United States intelligence report had indicated a sickness, quite similar to Covid-19 and also common seasonal flu in three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, in November 2019.

It comes as senior U.S. scientists admit they can not be certain of the virus's origins.

"Every time when the issue of pandemic is brought up, they smear and attack China, while totally ignoring the doubts over the origin-tracing work and failure of pandemic response in the U.S. They are obsessed with spreading "lab leak theory" and other conspiracy theories and disinformation", said Zhao.

'The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based global investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence, ' he said. "Most of us continue to believe that we're underestimating Mother Nature here", he said, noting that two previous coronavirus outbreaks this century were determined to have emerged naturally.

CNN reported in April 2020 that the intelligence community was investigating if the novel coronavirus spread from a Chinese laboratory rather than a market in Wuhan, China.

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"We're not going to go there just yet", Jean-Pierre replied, "We have to go through the 90-day review".

In a report issued in March written jointly with Chinese scientists, a World Health Organization-led team that spent four weeks in and around Wuhan in January and February said the virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, and that "introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway". "Such study and investigation shall be full, transparent and evidence-based, and shall get to the bottom to make everything clear", added the statement.

Anthony Fauci, one of the faces of the US pandemic response and an adviser to Biden, reiterated Wednesday that he believed it was unlikely that the virus came from a lab.

Other experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have also said the lab-leak theory is possible and should be investigated further.

"How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?" she said. "If we are blind as to its origins, then we are blind as to how to prevent it again the future", Sen. Lindsey Graham, another Republican, has pushed for an independent inquiry into the origins of the virus and called Wednesday for pre-emptive sanctions on China. "That's why we've advocated very strongly that World Health Organization needs to go back and try again after the first phase of their investigation really satisfied nobody".

"If it did come from the lab, that's something we need to know, right, because that's a completely different problem for the world", Graham said.

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