Pompeo: 'Enormous evidence' coronavirus came from Chinese lab

US Secretary of State says intelligence information backs theory coronavirus pandemic originated in Chinese laboratory in Wuhan.

David Rosenberg ,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo

The novel coronavirus pandemic which has led to outbreaks across the globe likely originated at a laboratory in Wuhan, China, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday.

In an interview with ABC, Pompeo said there was “enormous evidence” backing claims that the COVID-19 virus, which has infected more than 3.45 million people worldwide and killed nearly a quarter of a million people since the outbreaks began in 2020, spread from a Chinese laboratory.

"There's enormous evidence that that's where this began. We have said from the beginning, this virus originated in Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outset. But I think the whole world can see now.”

But the Secretary of State declined to weigh in on whether the virus had been intentionally released, noting instead that China has a poor record for safety precautions in labs such as the one operated in Wuhan.

“Remember, China has a history of infecting the world and they have a history of running sub-standard laboratories. These aren't the first times that we have had the world exposed to viruses as a result of failures from a Chinese lab.”

Pompeo’s claim challenges China’s narrative of the virus’ origin, which Beijing claims lies in the west end of the wet market in Wuhan, where a variety of wild animals are sold for food.

Critics of China’s claims regarding the virus’ origins noted that the type of bat which carried the novel coronavirus live roughly 1,000 miles southwest of Wuhan. That led some to suspect that the virus originated not in the wet market, but rather in either the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Wuhan Institute of Virology, with the former laboratory just several hundred yards from the wet market.

On Saturday, details of a 15-page intelligence report drawn up jointly by American, British, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand intel agencies were released, including claims the Chinese government had actively worked to hide the extent of the coronavirus pandemic in December and January.

Last week, it was reported that US President Donald Trump was assessing different retaliatory measures against China in wake of its alleged mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and that sources familiar with the situation were of the opinion that the President had become increasingly convinced that the socialist state was to blame for a misinformation campaign and that a political and economic break with China were in order.