President Joe Biden had asked U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 virus in 90 days and the agencies have concluded their investigations but have a divided opinion about it. They are unable to say whether the coronavirus was initially transmitted from an animal to humans or if escaped from a lab.
According to a report released on Friday afternoon, one agency said that it was moderately confident that the virus could have been released from a lab in Wuhan while four others said that they had low confidence that the virus had a natural origin. The names of the agencies were not revealed.
The brief summary stated that the intelligence community remained divided on the most likely origin of the COVID-19. It noted that all the agencies assessed that two hypotheses were plausible: the first one being natural exposure to an infected animal and the second one being a laboratory associated incident.
The report that was compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which reported that the virus had not been developed as a biological weapon. It also noted that Chinese officials did not have any knowledge about the virus before its initial outbreak in November 2019 when humans were first exposed to COVID-19 near the Chinese city of Wuhan. The first outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. was in January 2020.
President Joe Biden said that his administration would continue to push forward to ascertain the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. He criticized China for not allowing international investigators access to what he mentioned as “critical information” about the virus from the beginning of the infection and its subsequent spread throughout the world.
Several international experts and health officials had gone on a fact-finding mission to China under the aegis of the World Health Organization (WHO) but were not provided with sufficient access or information to draw a firm conclusion. When the WHO director proposed a second fact finding mission Chinese authorities refused to give access to a team of international experts. They have been unwilling to provide key clinical samples and data right from when the first few cases of COVID-19 occurred near Wuhan. These initial findings could help both the scientific and the intelligence communities pinpoint its origins.