There have been speculations about the coronavirus escaping from a Wuhan lab for some time, but now an official investigation into the possibility is underway in the U.S. Multiple news outlets are reporting that officials have confirmed the investigation into whether the coronavirus was accidentally released from a Wuhan lab.
Sources reportedly told Fox News that there is "increasing confidence" that COVID-19 came from a Chinese lab. However, they also said that the coronavirus investigation indicates that the Wuhan lab did not develop it as a bioweapon. Instead, it's believed that China was trying to show that it was at least as good as the U.S. at identifying and combatting viruses.
Sources believe that "patient zero" worked at the lab in Wuhan and became infected after contact with an infected bat. The patient then is believed to have gone out into the general population in Wuhan and infected others.
Fox correspondent John Roberts asked President Trump during a press briefing in the Rose Garden (video via the BBC) about whether COVID-19 came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He said "multiple sources" told them that an intern was infected "because of lax safety protocols." The intern then reportedly infected her boyfriend and infected others at the wet market in Wuhan that has been officially identified as the source of the outbreak.
President Trump didn't want to officially confirm that theory. However, he did come close to confirming that an investigation into the source of the coronavirus is underway, and they're hearing "more and more" that the Wuhan lab was involved. He said authorities are "doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened."
CNN reports that a U.S. intelligence source said they are reviewing sensitive information aimed at the Chinese government. Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Mark Milley said they are taking a "hard look" at whether the coronavirus originated in a Wuhan lab.
"Costliest government cover-up of all time"
One of Fox News' sources said the Chinese government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic could be the "costliest government cover-up of all time." They added that the intelligence from the coronavirus investigation into the Wuhan lab is not definitive and shouldn't be characterized as such. Some Trump administration officials and epidemiologists are skeptical, and the investigation continues.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told America's Newsroom on Wednesday that he sees China continuing to withhold information and that he believes they should "do more to continue to press them to share." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told The Story on Wednesday that they do know COVID-19 originated in Wuhan and the Wuhan Institute of Virology is "just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was." However, he also said they have much to learn and that the U.S. government "is working diligently to figure it out."
Chinese officials continue to deny claims in the investigation that the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan lab. The Chinese foreign ministry pointed to comments made by the World Health Organization that said there were no signs that COVID-19 came from a lab.
However, sources reportedly told Fox News that China's "100 percent" suppressed and changed data, destroying samples, scrubbing contaminated areas, erasing early reports, and stifling research articles. Further, they said while Chinese authorities quickly closed domestic travel from Wuhan, they did not stop international flights from the transportation hub.
The sources also told Fox that the WHO was complicit in helping China cover up the origin of the pandemic from the very beginning.