A top House Republican said Sunday that he believes the coronavirus behind the COVID-19 pandemic originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, and that China has been engaged in a massive cover-up ever since.
Republican Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday and was asked about the origins of the virus,
“You know, I do think it’s more likely than not it emerged out of the lab, most likely accidentally, for several reasons,” he said told host Jake Tapper, referring to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“And, first of all, Jake, let me say, this is the worst cover-up in human history that we have seen, resulting in 3.5 million deaths, creating economic devastation around the globe,” he said.
McCaul then cited details about three lab researchers hospitalized in the fall of 2019 that were reported by The Wall Street Journal May 23.
“As you mentioned, though, it was just declassified that three of the researchers were actually hospitalized in November of 2019 with flu-like symptoms consistent with COVID. That was suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party,” McCaul said.
McCaul said China has gone to extreme lengths to cover up the truth.
“Since that time, in December, they silenced and detained the doctors who were reporting a SARS-like virus, which, under international health regulations, had to be reported within 24 hours. They went and destroyed lab samples. They wouldn’t admit it was human-to-human and then, working with the WHO, failed to report to the world that we had a local — local epidemic that was now going into a global pandemic,” he said.
“So, time and time again, we’re seeing this cover-up. A couple more facts here, that there were two State Department cables in 2018 that called into question the safety protocols at that lab. And let’s not forget, in 2004, with SARS virus, they accidentally leaked the SARS virus from that lab in 2004,” he said.
McCaul said the research taking place in the lab was looking at developing a vaccine.
“They were studying corona-like viruses from bats, genetically mutating them, and then trying to develop a vaccine for what would be a next wave of a SARS-like virus, almost precisely what COVID-19 is,” he said.
McCaul said the 90-day review of intelligence community information ordered by President Joe Biden is “long overdue.”
“I think, because they have destroyed everything at the lab, it could be very inconclusive,” he said.
McCaul said that the episode is one more reason to reduce America’s reliance on China.
“My response to this whole thing is, ‘supply chain,'” he said.
“We need to pull our supply chain out of the region, that being medical supply, rare earth mineral supply. And a bill that’s going through Congress right now, bipartisan, I’m working on, the CHIPS for America Act, advanced semiconductor chips, which are the brains in everything from your iPhone to the F-35 [fighter plane], if we can pull these chains out of China, it will hurt them economically,” he said.
“And that would be very punitive in nature,” he said.
“It could have emerged from a laboratory. It could have emerged from nature,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Both of those are valid, neither of them is supported by concrete evidence, but there’s, there’s a growing amount of circumstantial evidence, in particular, supporting the idea that this may have leaked from the laboratory,” he said.
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