Following speculation on the pandemic’s origins, China said it has been “open and transparent” with information it has obtained.
Three years and over 6.8 million deaths later, concerns on how the worldwide virus emerged are at an all time high.
Most recently, the U.S. Department of Energy assessed with “low confidence” that the pandemic that was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 began with the leak of a virus from a lab. This report remains sealed to the public.
In defense of the accusations against China, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning Mao told reporters at a daily briefing that China has “shared the most data and research results on virus tracing and made important contributions to global virus tracing research.”
Mao added, “Politicizing the issue of virus tracing will not smear China but will only damage the U.S.’s own credibility,” opposing complaints from U.S. officials and members of Congress that China has not been fully cooperative.
Still, not all opinions sway in favor of the United States. Members of the U.S. intelligence community disagree with the U.S. Energy Department assessment of the lab leak, specifying
differing opinions within the government. On Monday, John Kirby, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said “There is just not an intelligence community consensus.”
The DOE, which oversees a national network of U.S. labs, concluded that the classified report was based on newly acquired intelligence and noted in an update to a 2021 document, according to the first reports made by the Wall Street Journal.
Requests for comment made to White House officials by numerous sources to confirm the press report assessments have been declined. The last report, made in 2021, said four members of the U.S. intelligence community believed with low confidence that the virus was first transmitted from an animal to a human, and a fifth believed with moderate confidence that the first human infection was linked to a lab. The quest to find more information is ongoing.