Donald Trump’s allies took the unusual step of speaking out in favor of Joe Biden on Sunday, regarding efforts to identify the source of Covid-19 and whether China knows more about the origins of the pandemic than it does. she does not imply it.
Biden said Thursday he was expanding an investigation into the outbreak, following a deviation from previous thinking of at least one U.S. intelligence agency now leaning toward the theory that the virus has escaped from a Wuhan laboratory.
Michael McCaul, a Republican congressman from Texas, and Matthew Pottinger, Trump’s former deputy national security adviser who persuaded him to start using the controversial term ‘Wuhan virus’, both praised the move. evolution.
“It is absolutely essential to find out what is the origin of this thing, it is essential for us to avoid the next pandemic, it is essential for us to better understand the variants of the current pandemic that are emerging,” Pottinger told Meet the Press from NBC. .
“These two hypotheses that President Biden spoke about are valid, they could have come out of a laboratory, they could have come out of nature. Neither is supported by concrete evidence, but there is a growing amount of circumstantial evidence supporting the idea that it may have leaked from a lab.
The Wuhan lab theory was rejected by many scientists, and the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Trump’s advisers was that the weight of evidence supported natural origins. The World Health Organization said in February that it was “extremely unlikely” that Covid-19 had started in a lab.
But the theory has gained ground.
On Thursday, the US office of the director of national intelligence said: “The US intelligence community is not sure exactly where, when or how the Covid-19 virus was initially transmitted, but has merged around two likely scenarios: either it emerged naturally from man. contact with infected animals or if it was a laboratory accident.
“While two elements of the CI lean towards the first scenario and one leans more towards the last – each with low or moderate confidence – the majority of the elements within the CI don’t think there is. enough information to assess that one is more likely than the other.
“The IC continues to review all available evidence, consider different perspectives, and aggressively collect and analyze new information to identify the origins of the virus.”
A WHO-affiliated health expert speaking to the BBC on Sunday said the lab theory was “not ruled out” and called on the United States to share any information.
Pottinger said he believes researchers in China have more to say.
“If this thing came out of a lab, there are people in China who probably know it,” he said. “China has amazing and ethical scientists, many of whom in the early stages of the pandemic suspected it was a lab leak. [A researcher at] Wuhan Institute of Virology said its first thought was, “Is this a leak from my lab? “
“These people have been systematically silenced by their government. Now that the world knows how important this is, it could also give moral courage to many of those ethical scientists who I think weigh on their conscience. I think we’ll see more information coming out as a result of this investigation.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that three staff at a Wuhan lab fell ill with Covid-like symptoms before the first Covid patient was registered in December 2019.
McCaul, former chairman of the House Homeland Security committee, told CNN’s State of the Union that he believes Biden’s 90-day intelligence review is unlikely to be conclusive because Chinese authorities “Destroyed everything in the laboratory”. But he said he welcomed the new investigation.
“It’s more likely than not that he got out of the lab, most likely accidentally,” said McCaul, who has long argued that China and the WHO were to blame.