President Donald Trump said Thursday he has seen evidence suggesting the novel coronavirus originated in a virology lab in Wuhan, China.
Trump did not provide any evidence to support that assertion, and he seemed to hedge a bit by saying there were many “theories” about the origin of the virus. He has repeatedly called for an investigation into the origin of the virus, part of what critics say is an effort to shift blame to China amid growing criticism of Trump’s missteps in response to the crisis.
Earlier Thursday, Trump’s director of national intelligence, Richard Grenell, issued a statement on behalf of the U.S. intelligence community stating there was broad agreement the virus was not man-made or genetically modified. But that statement left open the question of whether the virus was accidentally released by a laboratory in China or whether it came from animals and then jumped to humans.
A March paper published in Nature Medicine said the scientific evidence shows the virus was not purposefully manipulated and that it most likely came from an animal, and the World Health Organization has concluded similarly.