Fox News has confirmed: the U.S. government believes the coronavirus outbreak originated in a top-secret Chinese disease lab in the city of Wuhan.
However, the outbreak wasn’t part of a bioweapon–rather, it was “part of China’s attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States,” according to Fox News’s Bret Bair.
Bair reports: “The sources believe the initial transmission of the virus – a naturally occurring strain that was being studied there – was bat-to-human and that ‘patient zero’ worked at the laboratory, then went into the population in Wuhan.”
The outbreak wasn’t caused by nefarious Chinese behavior, but rather lax safety standards.
The Washington Post also revealed that, in January 2018, officials at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing warned about inadequate safety at the Wuhan lab–which, the memo notes, was studying bat-borne coronaviruses.
On Wednesday, Fox News’s White House Correspondent John Roberts asked President Trump about the situation.
The President didn’t rule it out but stressed that more confirmation is needed. “More and more we’re hearing the story,” he said. “We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation.”
China had previously pointed to a live animal market near the lab as the origin point of the global pandemic. But the market in question didn’t sell bats, leading to experts to question whether the story was yet another piece of Chinese propaganda.