Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is “convinced” that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Chinese lab — and is accusing the Communist government of covering up the leak.
“There are many things the United States government could do to impose real cost on the Chinese Communist Party until they come clean about what they know and what they did,” Pompeo told Fox News.
“We know for sure they covered up this virus. I am confident that we will find that the evidence that we have seen to date is consistent with a lab leak and I’m convinced that’s what we’ll see. If I am wrong, I hope the Chinese Communist Party will come forward and make a fool of me.”
Pompeo, now a Fox News contributor, made the pointed comments following a report in the Wall Street Journal that three workers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized in November 2019 with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and seasonal illness.
Pompeo said he discussed the possibility that the pandemic — which has killed more than 3.4 million worldwide as of Monday — started as a lab accident early on with then-CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield in early January 2020.
Authorities in Beijing have said the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was identified on Dec. 8, 2019.
Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, which WHO investigated as the potential source of the COVID-19 outbreak.AFP via Getty Images
The first case of the virus in the US was reported in Washington state on January 20, 2020.
“And the Chinese Communist Party had gone completely dark,” Pompeo said.
“They wouldn’t take our phone calls, they wouldn’t answer our questions. We sent inquires, we couldn’t get a straight answer … The Chinese Communist party clearly knew they had a problem, they didn’t want the world to know it and I’m convinced they still know they have a problem and don’t want us to know it.”
Citing current and former US officials, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that intelligence gathered by an “international partner” expanded on a State Department document confirming that the three Wuhan lab workers first became sick in November 2019.
“We need to know what happened here,” Pompeo told Fox News.
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Wuhan lab needs to be more closely examined.AP
“The Chinese Communist Party knows what happened here. They know who patient-zero was, they know precisely when this began … We need to get to the bottom of this because this could happen again.”
Pompeo’s charge also comes just days after a group of top scientists around the globe pushed back on the World Health Organization’s conclusion that it’s “extremely unlikely” the deadly virus leaked from a Wuhan lab.
In a letter published in the journal Science, the researchers called for a “proper investigation” into the “viable” claim.
“Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable,” read the letter, published May 13.
“Knowing how COVID-19 emerged is critical for informing global strategies to mitigate the risk of future outbreaks.”
In March, a joint study conducted by the WHO and Chinese officials on the origins of the pandemic instead concluded humans likely became infected through an animal that got the virus from bats.
The director of the Wuhan National Biosafety Lab, which is part of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, is denying the Wall Street Journal’s report, according to CNN.
“I’ve read it, it’s a complete lie,” director Yuan Zhiming reportedly told state-run tabloid Global Times.
“Those claims are groundless. The lab has not been aware of this situation, and I don’t even know where such information came from.”
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, accused US officials of “hyping up” the lab leak theory.