White House pushes for independent investigation on COVID-19 origins

The White House on Monday said that officials cannot draw a conclusion about the origins of COVID-19 without an independent investigation and more data from China.

“We are and we have repeatedly called for the [World Health Organization] WHO to support an expert-driven evaluation of the pandemic’s origins that is free from interference and politicization,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at a briefing Monday.

She insisted that officials would not get “ahead of an actual international process,” saying “We don’t have enough data and information to jump to a conclusion at this point in time.”

Responding to: Psaki was questioned about a Wall Street Journal report that three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology tried to get hospital care in November 2019, raising questions about whether the COVID-19 virus first appeared in a laboratory.

“It doesn’t mean we can draw a conclusion,” she said. We don’t have enough information to draw a conclusion about the origins. There is a need to look into a range of options. We need data, we need an independent investigation, and that’s what we’ve been calling for.”

Background: Scientists have said they believe it’s most likely the virus came from an animal, with a previous WHO-led report concluding a laboratory origination was “extremely unlikely.” But the Biden administration and others raised questions about whether China influenced that report.