Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

COVID-19

News >  Spokane

Pompeo says ‘enormous evidence’ links virus to Wuhan laboratory

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department in Washington on April 29, 2020. Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a 4-page, Department of Homeland Security report dated May 1 and obtained by the Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Pompeo saying Sunday, May 3, that China has been responsible for the spread of disease in the past and must be held accountable for the outbreak of the current pandemic. (Andrew Harnik / AP)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a news conference at the State Department in Washington on April 29, 2020. Chinese leaders “intentionally concealed the severity” of the pandemic from the world in early January, according to a 4-page, Department of Homeland Security report dated May 1 and obtained by the Associated Press. The revelation comes as the Trump administration has intensified its criticism of China, with Pompeo saying Sunday, May 3, that China has been responsible for the spread of disease in the past and must be held accountable for the outbreak of the current pandemic. (Andrew Harnik / AP)
By Steve Geimann Tribune News Service

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said “enormous evidence” shows the novel coronavirus outbreak began in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, and that Beijing has refused to give international scientists access to learn what happened.

“I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week.” “These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab.”

Pompeo stopped short of saying the virus was man-made, noting that he agreed with a report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that ruled out genetic modification or it having been man-made.

The virus’s origin has become a flash point in the pandemic and ratcheted up tensions between the U.S. and China. President Donald Trump has escalated efforts to attach blame to China as U.S. pandemic deaths pass 66,000.

“I’ve seen what the intelligence community has said,” said Pompeo. “I have no reason to believe that they’ve got it wrong.” Pompeo declined to say whether the Chinese intentionally released the virus.

Trump and his aides sharpened their criticism of Beijing last week, demanding answers about the virus’s origin. The president tweeted Friday that some U.S. television networks are “Chinese puppets,” while his super-political action committee unleashed anti-China ads.

“China behaved like authoritarian regimes do, attempted to conceal and hide and confuse,” Pompeo said on ABC. “It employed the World Health Organization as a tool to do the same.”

The secretary said China continued to block access by health experts from the WHO, as well as U.S. scientists, from getting access to samples of the virus needed for study.

“This is an ongoing threat, an ongoing pandemic,” Pompeo said. “The Chinese Communist Party continues to block access to the Western world, the world’s best scientists, to figure out exactly what happened.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.