President Trump targeted China once again in his coronavirus briefing Wednesday, casting doubt on the country's official death toll and addressing reports the virus may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan. "Do you think you're getting honest numbers from some of these countries?" he said when asked about the high death toll in the US. "Do you really believe those numbers in this vast country called China, and that they have a certain number of cases and a certain number of that?" China has reported 3,346 COVID-19 deaths, almost all of them in Wuhan and the surrounding province. Trump also spoke to a Fox journalist about the network's report, based on "multiple sources," that a worker at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was "patient zero" who accidentally contracted it from a bat and then spread the virus in the community. Trump's reaction, and more:
- "When you say 'multiple sources,' now there’s a case where you can use the word 'sources,'" Trump said, per the Guardian. "But we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened." Trump said it would be "inappropriate" to disclose whether he had discussed the lab theory with Xi Jinping.
- Fox News reports the theory is that the virus was not being worked on in the lab "as a bioweapon but as part of China's attempt to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the United States."
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged China to "come clean" about the origins of the outbreak, Wednesday night, Al Jazeera reports. "What we do know is we know that this virus originated in Wuhan, China," he said. "We know there is the Wuhan Institute of Virology just a handful of miles away from where the wet market was. There is still lots to learn."
- The Wuhan Institute has repeatedly denied that the virus was created at or escaped from the facility.
(Here's a different theory on the origins of the coronavirus