An ongoing U.S. government investigation into the origins of the global coronavirus pandemic has found "circumstantial evidence" that a Wuhan, China, laboratory released COVID-19 on the world, The Washington Times reported Tuesday.
A document obtained by the Times found that China's explanations for the origins of the virus are less credible than the evidence pointing to a Wuhan lab accident.
"There is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case," the still-evolving report compiled from "open sources" states, per the report. "All other possible places of the virus' origin have been proven to be highly unlikely."
The document does not yet have more concrete, definitive evidence with which to officially blame the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but President Donald Trump promised in Monday's coronavirus task force briefing at the White House that the findings would be coming out soon.
The circumstantial evidence in the analysis points to WIV bat coronavirus researcher Shi Zhengli, and Dr. Wu Xiaohua's online campaign exposing COVID-19 is among the 50 in Shi's database.
Dr. Wu's website claimed Shi used lab animals in testing, one of which might have been point of origin for the global pandemic. Also, per the report, Dr. Wu report WIV animals have been sold as pets – potentially carrying the virus – and dead lab animals "were not properly disposed of, and lab workers were known to boil and eat laboratory-used eggs," according to the Times.
"Wu's charges of WIV management negligence are specific and have not been convincingly rebutted by WIV," according to the government analysis, per the Times.
China has pointed to the beginnings of the outbreak at a Chinese wet market in Wuhan, where animals are butchered and sold to the public. The country's belief has been the virus jumped from an infected bat to another animal then to humans, per past reports, but the bats that have carried coronavirus' are not sold at that wet market, but about 100 miles away.
"At this point, it's inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural, but we don't know for certain," Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The evidentiary findings suggest the first human infected with COVID-19 did not visit the wet market, per the report.
"The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off from outside inquiry by the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]," the document stated, per the Times.
The labs, both having conducted extensive research on coronaviruses, are just a few minutes from the wet market, which Fox News reported it is believed "patient zero" – infected in the lab accident – had visited last November.
Huang Yanling is suspected of being Patient Zero and has mysteriously disappeared, per the report.
"Huang worked at WIV, but she is the only WIV employee whose biography, profile and picture have been deleted by WIV on its website, fueling speculation of foul play," the analysis stated, according to the Times.
"But Huang herself has never appeared in public and she has since disappeared."
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