The State Department announced on Friday that new evidence shows that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from a Chinese laboratory and not through contact with infected animals as has been touted all these months. The latest development is seen as the final campaign by President Donald Trump, who has insisted all this while that China is behind a virus that has held the world hostage for months now.
According to the State Department, new information within its disposal showed that just months before Wuhan and its surrounding cities were enveloped with the outbreak of the coronavirus, scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology had come down with symptoms that were consistent with COVID-19.
The department said China and its officials had masked the origin of the disease, which became apparent in the last months of 2019, making it difficult for researchers all over the world to pinpoint the exact source of the pandemic. The statement by the department, sighted by news sources, does not come with an official appendage and comes only a few days to the end of Trump’s administration. The department also failed to provide the requisite data to follow up its claims.
The State Department noted that the virus could have emerged following human contact with an infected animal and kept spreading just like an epidemic infection would. Conversely, the departed explained that a laboratory incident could have happened, which affected only a few individuals. However, the asymptomatic nature of the disease enabled it to become a full-blown pandemic, Fox News reports.
A spokesperson for the State Department refused comments when asked to provide further information on the new findings by the department. China has continuously denied that the coronavirus originated from a laboratory. The State Department refused more elaboration on how it came about its findings that scientists at the Wuhan laboratory had developed symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.
China had been severely criticized for barring a team from the World Health Organization, who was on a fact-finding mission to the country to try to establish the source of the virus. China said the group had not passed its screening and so was not allowed entry initially. The team would eventually be cleared to enter China, but several stakeholders, including the WHO, berated China for its delay tactics.
Trump has consistently blamed Beijing for being behind the pandemic, which has infected millions and killed thousands in the United States. Trump and his Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, in no uncertain terms, refer to the virus as the “Chinese virus.”
China has recently begun a media campaign to dispel rumors about the virus’s origin within its borders. State television promoted new research which showed that countries like Italy and the US had cases that came prior to those in China. Friday’s statistics show that 2 million people worldwide have died from COVID-19 since its outbreak, with 400,000 of those deaths occurring in the US alone.