Staff at Wuhan lab needed hospital care before COVID-19 spread revealed

Carla Harmon
May 26, 2021

It remained unclear whether these researchers were hospitalized or what their symptoms were, one of the sources said. "We don't feel like we have that now, but we need to get to the bottom of this, whatever the answer may be, and that's a critical priority for us".

The classified report is regarded as valid by current USA government agencies, experts investigating the origins of COVID-19 and by officials in President Joe Biden's administration.

A Wall Street Journal report citing USA intelligence found that three researchers from the Wuhan lab were sick enough to seek hospital care in November 2019 for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or seasonal illness.

Zhao was responding to a Wall Street Journal report that a trio of researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology - a lab in the central city where the first Covid-19 outbreak was identified - had fallen ill and sought hospital care in November 2019.

"We need a completely transparent process from China", Slavitt said at Tuesday's coronavirus task force briefing.

The Biden administration has not commented directly on the leaked report, simply reiterating the importance of a full investigation into the origins of the pandemic to increase global understanding and to assist preparations for any future public health crises.

They charge that the mission was heavily orchestrated by Beijing and that the report focused disproportionately on theories favored by China.

"We continue to have serious questions about the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its origins within the People's Republic of China", said a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

"I think it is important to remember that part of the issue is when this was first being reported on and discussed back a few months after the pandemic had begun, was that then President Trump and Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, suggested they've seen evidence that this was formed in a lab and they also suggested that is was not released on objective".

While the worldwide and Chinese experts provided no clear answers on the origins of the pandemic, they ranked a number of hypotheses according to how likely they believed they were.

Robert Redfield, MD, the former CDC director under President Trump, told CNN in late March that he believed the virus was spreading in Wuhan as early as September or October 2019. He said further study was needed into the role of animal markets as well as the lab leak hypothesis.

In particular, he said, the probe into Wuhan's virology labs was not "extensive enough" and that he was prepared to launch a fresh investigation.

Asked about the report, World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said via email that the organisation's technical teams were now deciding on the next steps. When Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., suggested the coronavirus was connected to research being done in Wuhan, China, the Washington Post said Cotton was pushing a "fringe theory".

"We hope that other relevant countries will cooperate closely with World Health Organization experts in a scientific, open, transparent and responsible manner, as China has done", Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on March 31.

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