Former President Donald Trump said this week that recent reports that COVID-19 may have originated in a Chinese lab prove he was right when he claimed last year that the coronavirus came from a lab in Wuhan, China, and defended his use of the term “China virus.”
“Now everybody is agreeing that I was right when I very early on called Wuhan as the source of COVID-19, sometimes referred to as the China Virus,” Trump said in a statement provided to American Military News on Tuesday. “To me it was obvious from the beginning, but I was badly criticized, as usual. Now they are all saying “He was right.” Thank you!”
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden said he directed U.S. intelligence officials to double down on their investigation into the virus’ origins, reversing months of the Biden administration dismissing the theory.
The president’s decision comes as officials are giving the lab-leak theory more attention following a U.S. intelligence report that revealed several researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in November 2019 and required hospitalization, exhibiting symptoms similar to those of COVID-19. While it is unclear if the scientists contracted the virus that would lead to a global pandemic, the lab firmly denies the report, according to CNN.
During a White House press briefing Tuesday, leading health official Dr. Anthony Fauci said an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 should move forward, adding that the COVID-19 Response Team still believes the disease “more likely” originated in animals.
Jamie Metzl, an adviser for the World Health Organization, called the lab-leak theory possible due to scientists “poking and prodding and studying” viruses with the intention of creating vaccines.
“Then I believe what possibly happened was there was an accidental leak followed by a criminal cover-up,” said Metzl, who served in the Clinton administration in the U.S. Department of State and is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
The reports come as COVID cases continue to drop amid increasing vaccines distribution globally.
“New United States COVID cases, because of the record-breaking development of the vaccine and its early purchase and distribution by the Trump Administration, has hit its lowest level in more than one year, and falling fast. I want to thank all within the Trump Administration who pushed so hard for a vaccine and got it done in less than nine months when everybody was saying it would take at least 3-5 years, and probably not happen,” Trump said in another statement.
“Without the vaccine the world would be a much different place right now. Thank you also to the U.S. Military for its incredible distribution and logistical planning. Operation Warp Speed and our decision to purchase billions of dollars of vaccine before it was even approved, has been ‘One of the greatest miracles of the ages,’ according to many. Thank you!”