White House Adviser Says China Must Prove That Wuhan Laboratory Had Nothing To Do With Coronavirus Outbreak

A picture of downtown in Wuhan, China.
Stringer / Getty Images

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro is pressing for China to prove that a laboratory in the city of Wuhan played no role in the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

As The Hill reported, Navarro appeared on Sunday Morning Futures and said that it is “incumbent on China to prove” that the lab was not responsible for the outbreak that has turned into a pandemic. Navarro hinted that he believes the idea of the virus originating in a lab could be the most logical explanation for the outbreak.

“If you simply do an Occam’s razor approach that the simplest explanation is probably the most likely, I think it’s incumbent on China to prove that it wasn’t that lab,” Navarro said.

The White House trade adviser echoed others in the Trump administration who have pressed China for early actions that could have contained the virus in Wuhan, where the first cases were seen.

“This was a time where that virus could have been contained in Wuhan,” he said. “Instead, 5 million Chinese people went out from Wuhan and propagated the virus around the world.”

President Donald Trump has accused China of not being forthright in the outbreak of the coronavirus, and this week, the city of Wuhan revised its death total to show a 50 percent increase in deaths from what had originally been reported.

Reports this week indicated that the U.S. government was investigating the possibility that the virus originated in a lab in the city of Wuhan. As NBC News reported, officials at the Wuhan Institute of Virology have denied what they called a “conspiracy theory” that the virus was man-made.

Yuan Zhiming, the laboratory’s vice director, spoke out for the first time publicly to say that the lab has a strict regulatory regiment and code of conduct in its research, saying there was no way the novel coronavirus could have originated there.

“As people who carry out viral study, we clearly know what kind of research is going on in the institute and how the institute manages viruses and samples. As we said early on, there is no way this virus came from us,” Yuan said.

Yuan added that he could understand the interest in the lab, which opened in 2014, given that it was based in the city where the novel coronavirus was first seen. But he called out those spreading the rumor, saying they were deliberately misleading people about the origin of the coronavirus.