Joint chiefs chairman says majority of evidence points to coronavirus being created through nature
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday said the majority of evidence suggests the coronavirus started from nature.
“There’s a lot of rumor and speculation in a wide variety of media, the blog sites, etc.,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told reporters when asked if he had any evidence that the virus might have accidentally escaped a Chinese laboratory.
“It should be no surprise to you that we’ve taken a keen interest in that, and we’ve had a lot of intelligence take a hard look at that. At this point it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we don’t know for certain.”
COVID-19 first emerged from Wuhan, in China’s Hubei Province, most likely from a fish and animal market where humans routinely come into direct contact with animals.
A majority of scientists believe that the virus probably jumped from an animal to a human and have pushed back at speculation that it is an escaped bioweapon as there is no public evidence to tie such a claim to.
The Washington Post earlier on Tuesday posted in an opinion piece that U.S. officials in January 2018 warned about safety concerns at a Wuhan lab that was holding studies on coronavirus from bats.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), in February also pushed the more nefarious theory during an appearance on Fox News, when he said that there was a Wuhan food market was “just a few miles” from a lab that researches human infectious diseases.
Joint Staff Surgeon Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs earlier this month said that “there is nothing” to the idea that the virus originated in a lab.
“If I could just be clear, there is nothing to that,” Friedrichs told reporters on April 6. “That is not something that I’m worried about. I think, you know, right now what we’re concerned about is how do we treat people who are sick, how do we prevent people from getting sick. But no, I am not worried about this as a bioweapon.”