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Mike Pompeo says there is evidence COVID-19 was made in a lab, despite US intelligence saying it occurred naturally

Published on 04/05/20 at 10:20am
Photo by Gage Skidmore

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that there is evidence the COVID-19 coronavirus was created in a lab, despite US intelligence officials stating it probably occurred naturally.

On an interview with ABC’s This Week program on Sunday, Pompeo said: “There is enormous evidence that that’s where this began. I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan. The best experts so far seem to think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.”

Days before, Pompeo had told Simon Conway on Newsradio 1040 that: “We don’t know if it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. We don’t know if it emanated from the wet market or yet some other place. We don’t know those answers.” This follows President Donald Trump sharing a similar sentiment on Thursday.

However, these claims are in direct contrast with US official’s assessment of the virus. Last Tuesday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that the “weight of the evidence seems to indicate natural (origin) but we don’t know for certain.”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence also released a statement saying that it “concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the Covid-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.” It added: “The intelligence community will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

In 2018, US diplomats and scientists had raised concerns about the Wuhan Institute of Virology but an analysis published in the Lancet of the first 41 patients to be infected with COVID-19, found that 27 had direct exposure to the Wuhan market, expected to be where the virus originated from.

The President and Secretary of State claiming that the virus was created in a lab is representative of a wider belief in the US. Results of a survey published last week found that 44% of Americans believed the virus originated in a lab.

Conor Kavanagh

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