US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley
US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley

China's 'cover-up' hampering investigation into COVID-19 origins, says top US military official

ANI | Updated: May 27, 2021 21:33 IST

Washington [US], May 27 (ANI): Amid increasing calls for a more thorough probe of COVID-19 origins, the US military's top commander, General Mark Milley has said that the 'cover-up' by Chinese authorities is hampering the investigation into the origins of the virus.
In an interview with Fox News, Milley said that the reason the world does not know about the origins of SARS-COV-2 is because of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government.
"Once this virus started appearing, there seems to have been a fair amount of activity or cover-up or lack of transparency, probably the best way to put it, and all of that is disturbing. So we need to get to the bottom of it. That's clear," he said.
He further said that evidence of the origins of COVID-19 remained 'inconclusive'.
"My opinion hasn't changed, because I haven't seen any different evidence. What I said a year ago, it's still true today. It's inconclusive, we don't know," the military commander told Fox News.
Milley's statements come after US President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he has asked the country's intelligence community to "redouble their efforts" to come to a conclusion on the origins of COVID-19 and report back to him within 90 days.
"I have now asked the Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days," Biden said in a statement on the investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
Nicholas Wade, a noted science writer, editor and author, said that the evidence adds up to a serious case that the virus could have been created in a Chinese lab from which it then escaped.

Wade, who has worked on the staff of Nature, Science, and, for many years, the New York Times, talked about lack of access to evidence from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or related labs in Wuhan.
"The evidence adds up to a serious case that the SARS2 virus could have been created in a lab, from which it then escaped. But the case, however substantial, falls short of proof. Proof would consist of evidence from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, or related labs in Wuhan, that SARS2 or a predecessor virus was under development there. For lack of access to such records, another approach is to take certain salient facts about the SARS2 virus and ask how well each is explained by the two rival scenarios of origin," he said in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.
He further said China's central authorities did not generate SARS-2, but they sure did their utmost to conceal the nature of the tragedy and China's responsibility for it.
"They suppressed all records at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and closed down its virus databases. They released a trickle of information, much of which may have been outright false or designed to misdirect and mislead. They did their best to manipulate the WHO's inquiry into the virus' origins, and led the commission's members on a fruitless run-around. So far they have proved far more interested in deflecting blame than in taking the steps necessary to prevent a second pandemic."
A few days back, an explosive report by Wall Street Journal had stated that three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology sought hospital care after they fell ill in November 2019, a month before Beijing reported the first patient with COVID-like symptoms.
"The US government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses," the report read, fueling debate of the lab leak theory.
The revelations come amid growing calls for a fuller probe on whether the COVID-19 virus may have escaped from the Chinese laboratory.
After a visit to Wuhan in January 2021, the WHO released its report on the origins of coronavirus in March and concluded it is "extremely unlikely that coronavirus, which has killed millions across the world, originated in a lab in China".
The report found that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario. (ANI)