US President Joe Biden has ordered intelligence agencies to investigate the emergence of Covid-19, amid growing controversy over the origins of the virus. In a statement, Biden asked US intelligence groups to “redouble their efforts” and inform him within 90 days. Covid-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. Since then, more than 168 million cases have been confirmed worldwide and at least 3.5 million deaths have been reported.
Authorities linked the first cases of Covid to a seafood market in Wuhan, and scientists believed the virus was first transmitted to humans through animals. But recent reports in the US media suggest growing evidence that the virus could have emerged from a laboratory in China. Beijing condemned the reports and suggested it may have come from an American laboratory. When it comes to relative transparency in the US government, the Biden administration has admitted that the American intelligence community is divided over the origins of Covid-19 (it could be laboratory or animal-to-human contact). ) and nobody is almost sure about it…
That marks a big departure from the accumulated mockery about the lab theory by many in the media and politics last year, when Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senator Tom Cotton, and others floated the idea. However, Trump and Pompeo did not help the situation, as they were shy about the reasons for their suspicions. And his theories floating next to more implausible ones, such as that the disease was manufactured in a Chinese laboratory. That possibility still seems highly unlikely.
The public may never know the full truth about the origins of the virus, especially if China remains uncooperative. However, Biden promises a full investigation, and if the US finds conclusive evidence of a lab leak, it will mean more than a few prominent figures who will have to eat crows and reassess their confidence in authoritative “conclusions.” It could put a very real strain on US-China relations for years to come.
In a White House statement released Wednesday, President Biden said he had requested a report on the origins of Covid-19 after taking office, “including whether it arose from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident. “. Upon receiving it this month, he asked for an “additional follow-up.” “To this day, the US Intelligence Community has rallied around two possible scenarios, but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this issue,” Biden said.
“Here is their current position: ‘While two items in the IQ lean toward the first scenario and one lean more toward the second, each with low or moderate confidence, most items do not believe there is enough information. to assess that one is more likely than the other. ‘ The president has now asked the agencies to “redouble his efforts to collect and analyze information that brings us closer to a definitive conclusion,” and to inform him within 90 days. He asked that Congress be “fully informed” of the work. He concluded by saying that the United States “will continue to work with like-minded partners around the world to pressure China to engage in a comprehensive, transparent and evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.”
But a Washington Post column on Wednesday accused the Biden administration of thwarting Congressional investigations into the origins of Covid-19, while passing the buck to the World Health Organization (WHO). Biden’s statement also comes as CNN reported that the president’s administration this spring closed a state department investigation into whether the virus could have leaked from a Wuhan laboratory, deeming the investigation an ineffective use of resources.
In March this year, the WHO issued a report written together with Chinese scientists on the origins of Covid-19, saying that the chances of it starting in a laboratory were “extremely unlikely.” WHO recognized that more studies were needed. But questions have persisted and recent reports attributed to US intelligence sources say that three members of the Wuhan Institute of Virology were admitted to the hospital in November 2019, several weeks before China recognized the first case of the new disease in the community.
Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser, has maintained that he believes the virus was transmitted from animals to humans, although he admitted this month that he no longer trusted that Covid-19 had developed naturally. Biden’s statement comes a day after Xavier Becerra, the US secretary of health and human services, urged the WHO to ensure a “transparent” investigation into the origins of the virus.
“The Covid-19 pandemic not only stole a year of our lives, but it also stole millions of lives,” Becerra said in a speech to the World Health Assembly, a conference organized by the WHO. “Phase 2 of the study of the origins of Covid should begin with transparent terms of reference, based on science, and that give international experts the independence to fully assess the source of the virus and the first days of the outbreak.”
The lab leak allegations were widely dismissed last year as a fringe conspiracy theory after then-President Donald Trump said that Covid-19 had originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Many American media outlets described such claims as denial or false.
On Tuesday, Trump sought to take credit in an emailed statement to the New York Post. “It was obvious to me from the beginning but I was heavily criticized, as always,” he said. “Now everyone is saying,” I was right. “