(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — A theory that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic originated in a Chinese lab and not a Chinese wet market is gaining ground in the White House, despite being discredited by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases.
While Fauci maintains the virus “evolved in nature,” others claim the pandemic was triggered by human error.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo doubled down on claims that the COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a lab accident, where a human working there came into contact with the virus and spread it.
Citing “enormous evidence,” Pompeo on Wednesday, he added that he agreed with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that the virus was neither genetically modified nor manmade.
Pompeo also called for clarity, calling upon China to be transparent and allow U.S. scientists or the World Health Organization into the Wuhan lab in question.
The secretary condemned China for initially covering up the outbreak, saying the government silenced whistleblowers and destroyed viral samples, which caused “the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.”
Because the virus is new, scientists are learning more about it with each passing day. On Tuesday, New York announced that 15 children were exhibiting signs of a new illness linked to COVID-19. That number has jumped to 64 as of Wednesday.
The mystery illness, which has features of Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, has since been named Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19.
COVID-19 has killed over 263,000 people worldwide and sickened over 3.7 million as of Wednesday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
In the U.S., there have beeb 1.2 million confirmed cases and 73,095 deaths.
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