A United States senator is casting major doubt on the Chinese government’s official story on the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, instead hinting that a biosafety laboratory working with the deadliest pathogens in the world could be the true source.
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas dismantled a claim from China’s communist regime Thursday that pinned the coronavirus outbreak on a market selling dead and live animals.
“China claimed — for almost two months — that coronavirus had originated in a Wuhan seafood market,” Cotton wrote on Twitter.
“That is not the case.”
In a video accompanying his post, Cotton explained that the Wuhan wet market (which Cotton incorrectly referred to as a seafood market) has been shown by experts to not be the source of the deadly contagion.
Cotton referenced a Lancet study which showed that many of the first cases of the novel coronavirus, including patient zero, had no connection to the wet market — devastatingly undermining China’s claim.
“As one epidemiologist said: ‘That virus went into the seafood market before it came out of the seafood market.’ We still don’t know where it originated,” Cotton said.
“I would note that Wuhan also has China’s only bio-safety level four super laboratory that works with the world’s most deadly pathogens to include, yes, coronavirus.”
Watch Cotton’s full comments below.
China claimed—for almost two months—that coronavirus had originated in a Wuhan seafood market. That is not the case. @TheLancet published a study demonstrating that of the original 40 cases, 14 of them had no contact with the seafood market, including Patient Zero. pic.twitter.com/PdgqgHjkGy— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) January 30, 2020
Cotton appears to be referring to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the country’s foremost virus research facility.
The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, which is part of the institute, is located only 20 miles from the Wuhan wet market, the “official” source of the outbreak according to China.
Snakes, bats and other animals were identified as possible originators for the coronavirus in early investigations.
The rapid spread of the virus, which makes previous contagions like SARS and swine flu look benign by comparison, seems to lend weight to the theory that the novel coronavirus is a tailored bioweapon.
Ten days ago, China reported less than 300 had the virus. The country’s latest update now numbers the infected at over 11,000.
An additional 15,000 in China are suspected of having the virus, but a reported lack of test kits prevents the government from giving an accurate number.
When the number of infected was still low, China instituted a wide-reaching quarantine, sealing over 40 million inside cities.
Now, the world appears to be sealing China in.
Russia, Nepal, Mongolia and North Korea have all closed their borders with China. Even more countries are refusing Chinese nationals, including an unprecedented announcement from the administration of President Donald Trump barring entry into America for foreign nationals who have traveled to China.
While the virus has been found in several countries around the world including America, all eyes are now on China as the outbreak there shows no signs of slowing.