The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, claimed on Sunday there is “enormous evidence” the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory.
In an interview with ABC’s This Week, Pompeo said “There is enormous evidence that that’s where this began,” later adding “I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
US President Donald Trump made a similar claim last Thursday. At that news conference, a reporter asked Trump whether he’d seen evidence that gave him a “high degree of confidence” to suggest the virus had originated in a Chinese lab.
“Yes, I have,” Trump said, adding he was “not allowed to tell” anyone about the intelligence. Trump previously floated a similar theory on April 19, promising “consequences” if China was found to have created the novel coronavirus.
Pompeo told ABC Sunday “the Chinese communist party has refused to cooperate with world health experts.” He could not answer whether he believed the theory that the virus was intentionally released by the Chinese government or whether he believed it to be mistakenly released during a lab accident.
The Chinese Communist Party continues to block access to the Western world, the world's best scientists, refusing to cooperate with world health experts, to figure out exactly what happened. This unacceptable during an ongoing threat, an ongoing pandemic. pic.twitter.com/qa156CfTAB
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 3, 2020
The president and other members of his party have continued to blame China for the virus’s impact on the US, where it has so far killed at least 66,430 and infected some 1,134,673, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University.
US intelligence officials said there is no such evidence that the virus originated in a Wuhan lab, according to reports from the Washington Post and New York Times.