The U.S. intelligence community has failed to resolve a heated debate within the Biden administration over whether a Chinese lab incident was the source of Covid-19, U.S. officials said in a summary on Friday. declassified.
The report, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in response to Joe Biden’s request, said that a satisfactory answer to the question of how a virus that has killed 4.6 million people worldwide started has remained out of reach.
According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 633,000 people have died in the United States, out of a workload of more than 38 million.
U.S. authorities said on Friday that 366,838,484 doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered and 437,567,285 distributed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 203,475,192 people received at least one injection while 172,646,952 people were fully vaccinated.
In a statement, Biden said: “Critical information about the origins of this pandemic exists in the People’s Republic of China, but from the start Chinese government officials have worked to prevent international investigators and members of the global community of public health to access it. . ”
He added: “The world deserves answers and I will not rest until we have them. “
Organizations in the U.S. intelligence community disagreed over the origins of the novel coronavirus.
Many believed it was the result of “natural exposure to an animal infected with it or to a close progenitor virus,” according to the summary. But they had only “low confidence” in this conclusion. Other groups have not been able to form a firm opinion.
A segment of the intelligence community developed a “moderate confidence” that the first human infection with Covid was likely due to a “laboratory-associated incident, likely involving experimentation, animal handling or sampling by the Institute of Wuhan virology ”.
The report concluded that analysts would not be able to provide “a more definitive explanation” without new information from China, such as clinical samples and epidemiological data on the first cases.
China has ridiculed the theory that Covid-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab and pushed theories, including that it escaped from a lab in Fort Detrick, Maryland, in 2019.
Biden said, “While this review is complete, our efforts to understand the origins of this pandemic will not stop. We will do all we can to trace the roots of this epidemic that has caused so much suffering and death around the world, so that we can take all necessary precautions to prevent it from happening again. “
He added: “To date, [China] continues to reject calls for transparency and withholding of information, even as the toll of this pandemic continues to rise. We needed this information quickly, [China], while the pandemic was still new.
Biden said his administration had “renewed American leadership in the World Health Organization and rallied allies and partners to focus again on this critical issue.”
“The world deserves answers, and I won’t rest until we have them. Responsible nations do not shirk this kind of responsibility to the rest of the world. Pandemics do not respect international borders, and we all need to better understand how Covid-19 came about in order to prevent further pandemics. “
The United States, Biden said, “would continue to press [China] adhere to scientific norms and standards, including information and data sharing from the first days of the pandemic, protocols related to biosafety and information on animal populations. We must have a full and transparent account of this global tragedy. Anything less is acceptable.
The CDC’s tally for U.S. Covid-19 vaccinations included two-dose vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, as well as the single-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson.
About 732,000 people have received an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine since August 13, when the United States authorized a third dose of the vaccine for people with weakened immune systems who are likely to have more protection. weak against two-dose regimens.