After another 90 days of investigation, the intelligence community still has not determined the origins of Covid-19.
Agencies are divided on the virus’ beginnings, with four members of the US intelligence community saying with low confidence that the virus was initially transmitted from animal to human. A fifth intelligence agency put moderate confidence into the theory that coronavirus originated in a lab.
Analysts agreed that the virus was not engineered as a bioweapon, according to an unclassified summary of the report released Friday.
The intelligence community laid blame for its vague findings on the Chinese Communist Party, saying that to determine the pandemic’s origins with confidence they would need cooperation from China.
‘China’s cooperation most likely would be needed to reach a conclusive assessment of the origins of Covid-19. Beijing, however, continues to hinder the global investigation, resist sharing information and blame other countries, including the United States,’ the report read.
President Biden in a statement after the report’s release promised his administration’s efforts to unveil the pandemic’s origin ‘will not rest,’ while taking a swipe at China’s lack of ‘transparency.’
‘The United States will continue working with like-minded partners around the world to press the PRC to fully share information and to cooperate with the World Health Organization’s Phase II evidence-based, expert-led determination into the origins of COVID-19 – including by providing access to all relevant data and evidence,’ Biden said.
‘We will also continue to press the PRC to adhere to scientific norms and standards, including sharing information and data from the earliest days of the pandemic, protocols related to biosafety, and information from animal populations. We must have a full and transparent accounting of this global tragedy. Nothing less is acceptable,’ the president continued.
The intelligence community laid blame for its vague findings on the Chinese Communist Party, saying that to determine the pandemic’s origins with confidence they would need cooperation from China
Agencies are divided on the virus’ beginnings, with four members of the US intelligence community saying with low confidence that the virus was initially transmitted from animal to human
One intelligence agency, put moderate confidence into the theory that coronavirus originated in a lab, specifically the according to an unclassified version of the new report
People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus line up outside a bakery shop to buy cookies in Shanghai, China, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Biden ordered the intelligence community to conduct the 90-day review in May after a a report from intelligence agencies saying that they had ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios,’ the animal-to-human transmission theory and the theory that it had spilled out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
China’s foreign ministry issued a threat to the US ahead of the report’s release.
‘Scapegoating China cannot whitewash the U.S.,’ Fu Cong, director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ arms control department, told reporters, according to Reuters.
‘If they want to baselessly accuse China, they better be prepared to accept the counterattack from China,’ he said.
Republicans had long been demanding a more robust investigation into the virus’ origins, with many peddling the theory that the virus did originate in a lab.
In April last year, President Trump said he had a ‘high degree of confidence’ that the novel coronavirus came from a lab and claimed to have seen evidence to support his certainty.
At first, scientists were convinced that COVID-19 emerged naturally, crossing from an animal host to humans much like previous coronavirus outbreaks.
But this year a string of senior scientists admitted they may have leapt to conclusions.
At the same time, details emerged about how staff at the Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital treatment for COVID-like symptoms in November 2019.
Congressional Republicans released their own report which accused Beijing of one the ‘greatest cover-ups in human history’ over the origins of Covid-19.
The Republicans’ report cited ‘ample evidence’ that scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology – aided by U.S. experts and funds – were working to modify coronaviruses to infect humans and such manipulation could be hidden.
Its authors cited a stream of open source information, including satellite imagery showing a surge in visitors to local hospitals, long before cases were reported emerging from a nearby market.
And it reports how scientific papers written by researchers prove the WIV was doing dangerous genetic modification research – so-called ‘gain of function’ experiments – in unsafe laboratories.
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