The US envoy to China has demanded that China be "more forthright" regarding the origins of the Covid-19 virus. The first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and the virus quickly spread to other parts of the world.
The US envoy’s remarks come a day after US media reported a federal agency determined the pandemic likely originated from a Wuhan laboratory leak. COVID-19 can cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and loss of smell or taste. Prevention measures include wearing masks, washing hands frequently, social distancing, and getting vaccinated.
China's foreign ministry retorted that the origin of the global outbreak was scientific and should not be politicized. Since the US shot down an alleged Chinese spy balloon this month, relations between the two capitals have been strained. Ambassador Nicholas Burns stated on Monday at a US Chamber of Commerce event that China must "be more forthcoming about what transpired in Wuhan three years ago, which was the origin of the Covid-19 crisis."
US media reported on Sunday that a classified intelligence report from the US Department of Energy concluded with "low confidence" that the virus was accidentally released by a laboratory. The energy department had previously stated that it was unsure of the origin of the virus. However, there is compelling evidence, according to scientists, that Wuhan's Huanan seafood and wildlife market was the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Other US government agencies have reached divergent conclusions with varying degrees of certainty in their findings. In 2021, the FBI concluded with "moderate confidence" that the virus originated in a laboratory. Other studies indicate that it jumped from animals to humans at the Huanan seafood and wildlife market in Wuhan.
Four US intelligence agencies assessed with "low confidence" that it originated from an infected animal or related virus, according to an unclassified report released in October 2021 by the head of US intelligence. John Kirby, the national security spokesman for the White House, stated on Monday that neither conclusion was definitive.
When asked about the energy department's reported conclusion, he told sources, "There has been no definitive conclusion and consensus in the US government regarding the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic." Monday, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry rejected the lab leak theory once again. Mao Ning urged U.S. investigators to stop defaming China and stop politicizing origins-tracing.
Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican, tweeted "being proven right is irrelevant" in response to news that the US Department of Energy had accepted the lab leak theory. "It is important to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable in order for this to not occur again."
Seth Moulton, a Democrat from Massachusetts, mentioned that he was "not entirely surprised" by the energy department's alleged conclusion. He stated that the Covid-19 situation has been handled poorly by the Chinese and that they are now trying to sweep the issue under the rug.