On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again referred to his charge that the coronavirus had originated in a Chinese laboratory, but acknowledged that there is no certainty. Pompeo seeks global pressure on China to provide more information about the origin of the deadly virus which has claimed more than 250,000 people worldwide and hit the global economy.
He told reporters in a press briefing, “We don’t have certainty, and there is significant evidence that this came from the laboratory. Those statements can both be true.”
“The American people remain at risk because we do not know … whether it began in the lab or whether it began someplace else,” he said.
“There’s an easy way to find out the answer to that – transparency, openness – the kinds of things that nations do when they really want to be part of solving a global pandemic.”
Pompeo has always accused China of misreporting about the coronavirus and claimed the SARS-CoV-2 virus slipped out of the Wuhan Virology Institute, where some of the world’s deadliest viruses are examined. Before the lab speculation, most of the people believed that the virus first spread from a local seafood market in Wuhan.
The Trump administration has repeatedly blamed China and also accused the World Health Organization for being biased towards China. However, several critics have claimed it to be an attempt to deflect blame for the handling of the coronavirus in the US, which has the highest number of death tolls.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the country harder than Pearl Harbor in World War II or the 9/11 attacks. “This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center. And it should have never happened,” he told reporters at the White House.