A freshly revealed U.S. intelligence report says that in November 2019, three researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with symptoms resembling COVID-19. This would have coincided with the time that many researchers now studying the virus believe that COVID-19 began to circulate. This revelation comes as calls increase for a fuller investigation into whether the COVID-19 virus could have escaped from the lab, which had been performing extensive research on bat coronaviruses.
The newly released intel confirms a report released by the State Department in the late days of the Trump administration, which made similar allegations. China’s government has tried hard to squash the suggestion that COVID-19 could have come from the Wuhan Institute. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, China’s foreign ministry accused the U.S. government of trying to “hype the lab leak theory” in order to “divert attention.” The World Health Organization is expected to meet shortly to discuss the next steps in investigating the virus’ origins.