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China blocking U.S. investigation of COVID-19 origins, lawmakers assert

Reports of the virus first emerged in Wuhan, China, in 2019.

Published: March 6, 2023 2:57pm

Updated: March 6, 2023 3:33pm

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have asserted that Chinese authorities are obstructing an American probe into the origins of COVID-19 amid increasing support for the theory that the virus originated from a lab in Wuhan.

Reps. Jim Himes, D-Conn, and Mike Turner, R-Ohio, expressed their frustrations with Beijing in a joint weekend appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"We have so few facts because the Chinese regime has obfuscated," Himes said. "It may be forever before we actually know exactly what happened."

Reports of the virus first emerged in Wuhan, China, in 2019. Of particular interest to those exploring the virus's origin is the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a research facility in the area known to have been studying coronaviruses prior to the outbreak.

Formerly maligned as a conspiracy theory, the notion that COVID-19 originated in the lab has increasingly gained traction among major government agencies such as the Department of Energy and the FBI.

"The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in late February.

Turner, for his part, acknowledged the relatively weak evidence trail and lamented the unwillingness of the WIV to hand over relevant materials.

"In all of this, because there's no direct evidence, we don't have China admitting it, we don't have [the] Wuhan lab handing these things over, all this is being assessed by looking at other aspects of the release," he said.

The debate over COVID-19's origins is far from settled, however, as various agencies and scientists have suggested the virus was the result of a natural outbreak.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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