U.S. intelligence agencies are investigating whether the coronavirus may have leaked from a Chinese lab in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic is generally thought to have begun, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday.
According to a report by Bill Gertz in The Washington Times, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the nation’s senior military officer, told reporters that initial assessments suggest COVID-19's emergence appears to have been “natural,” occurring as a consequence of animal-to-human transmission.
However, the outlet said, he referenced published reports that the virus may have escaped from a research laboratory.
“It should be no surprise that we’ve taken a keen interest in that and we’ve had a lot of intelligence [agencies] take a hard look at that,” Milley said, according to The Times. “I would just say at this point it’s inconclusive although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural.
"But we don’t know for certain.”
The four-star general's remarks represent what appears to be a first: a senior American government official publicly raising the notion that the virus may have originated from a Chinese lab and not from so-called wet markets in China, where exotic animals are purchased.
This is a developing story. Check back for more.
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