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Senior officials in the Biden administration on Sunday expressed concern over how a pivotal report examining the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic was drafted, including the possibility that the Chinese government had contributed to its drafting.
The Geneva-based World Health Organization said the findings of its mission to Wuhan, China, in early 2021, would be ready within days. The report was expected earlier in March.
The United States has “real concerns about the methodology and process” of the report, including that the Chinese government “apparently helped write it,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN.
If there is to be ‘accountability for the past’, the focus should be on building a stronger system for the future, Blinken said about “the state of the Union”.
Learn about the report’s likely findings and Covid’s link to the wildlife trade
Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease specialist in the United States, said he was unsure whether the report would be “whitewash” when asked about it on CBS, and said he was not sure. would not prejudge the conclusions.
“What I’d like to do is see the report first,” said Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on “Face the Nation”. “You have a lot of guesswork about what they did and what they were or was not allowed to do.”
“If, in fact, obviously there were a lot of restrictions on the ability of the people who were there to actually take a look, then I’m going to have considerable concern about that.
Putting pressure on China
The Biden administration kept pressure on China and the WHO for weeks for what it described as a flawed investigation.“We do not believe that China has made available enough original data on how this pandemic started to spread both in China and then around the world,” the US security adviser said on February 21. National Jake Sullivan.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that the United States was concerned about the lack of transparency and data in the preparation of this report.
“We’ll have to take a look at it and make sure we have access to the underlying information,” Psaki said at a press briefing. She reiterated a call for an international investigation into the pandemic and “the lack of transparency on the part of the Chinese”.
China makes it harder to solve mystery of Covid origin
Robert Redfield, who led the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the first year of the pandemic, told CNN in a clip released Friday that he believed the coronavirus was from a Wuhan lab , reiterating a theory adopted by former President Donald Trump.
This scenario is more likely than any alternative, including that the virus broke out after animals were transferred to humans or to a live animal market, Redfield said.