White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at today’s press briefing that the United States has absolutely “no means” to confirm if lab workers in Wuhan, China, fell ill shortly before the first reported cases of the Coronavirus — she also fended off questions about why the US doesn’t do more to probe into the pandemic’s origins.
Jen Psaki said “in terms of the report, which is specifically about individuals being hospitalized, we have no means of confirming that or denying that. I mean, it’s not a report from the United States.”
Psaki was responding specifically to an article in the Wall Street Journal that said three lab workers at the now infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology got so sick that they were hospitalized in November 2019. The article cited “a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.”
When journalist Jeff Mason explained to Psaki that the Wall Street Journal cited a US intelligence report, she said, “Well, I don’t have any — I don’t have anything more on the US intelligence report from here.”
It remained unclear whether these researchers were hospitalized or what their symptoms were, one of the sources said. The virus first appeared in Wuhan and then spread worldwide.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said it was “completely untrue” that three workers had fallen ill.
The origin of Covid-19 is hotly debated. In a report issued in March written jointly with Chinese scientists, a World Health Organization-led team that spent 4 weeks in and around Wuhan in January and February said Covid-19 had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal, and that “introduction through a laboratory incident was considered to be an extremely unlikely pathway.”
“I would caution you against disproving a negative there, which is never the responsible approach in our view when it comes to getting to the bottom of the root causes of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in the United States,” Psaki lashed out at Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy after he questioned her on the origins of the virus.