President Donald Trump’s administration is investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, saying it doesn’t rule out that it came from a laboratory researching bats in Wuhan, China.
Chinese scientists have said the virus, which has killed more than 138,700 people worldwide, was likely transmitted to humans late last year at a Wuhan “wet market” that slaughtered exotic animals — a longtime focus of concern for public health experts.
But The Washington Post and Fox News both quoted anonymous sources who voiced concern that SARS CoV-2 may have come — accidentally — from a sensitive bioresearch center in the metropolis.
“We’re doing a full investigation of everything we can to learn how it is the case that this virus got away, got out into the world and now has created so much tragedy — so much death — here in the United States and all around the world,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News.
He did not reject the reports and said that the United States knew that the Wuhan laboratory “contained highly contagious materials.”
“In countries that are open and transparent, they have the ability to control and keep them safe and they allow outside observers in to make sure all the processes and procedures are right,” Pompeo said.
“I only wish that that had happened in this place. We would know more about it and we would know more about what has transpired there, if anything, today.”
Trump, asked about the laboratory theory at a news conference on Wednesday, said that “more and more, we’re hearing the story” and that the United States was “doing a very thorough investigation.”