The World Health Organization’s new report on the origins of COVID-19 is “incomplete” and lacks transparency, White House Press Secretary told reporters Tuesday.
Psaki clarified that U.S. experts are still reviewing the report, but she stated that it is already clear that the report “lacks crucial data” and transparency. Psaki also stated that most of the global community concurs with U.S. criticism of the report, saying the administration is in talks with roughly 20 countries to draft a statement on the report. President Joe Biden himself will not comment on the report until the review is fully complete, however. (RELATED: WHO Will Give The Press Just 30 Minutes To Review COVID Origins Report Before Taking Questions)
“It lacks access, it lacks transparency,” Psaki said. “We don’t believe in our review to-date that it meets the moment–it meets the impact that this pandemic has had on the global community.”
Reporters also pressed Psaki on China’s involvement in the report. The WHO faced heavy criticism for parroting falsified Chinese data on the coronavirus during the earliest days of the pandemic. China also delayed the arrival of WHO scientists travelling to China in to conduct research in January. Beijing has also reportedly had extensive input in the language of the report.
“Has China not cooperated enough in the White House’s opinion?” a reporter asked a Tuesday’s press briefing.
“They have not been transparent. They have not provided underlying data. That certainly doesn’t qualify as cooperation,” Psaki responded. “[The report] doesn’t lead us to any closer of an understanding or greater knowledge than we had six-to-nine months ago about the origins of the pandemic.”
The WHO report downplays the theory put forward by the U.S. and other nations that COVID-19 spread from a coronavirus research lab in Wuhan. The U.S. has said the Chinese military was involved in research at the lab as well. China has denied the accusation and put forward the theory that is spread to humans from wild animals.
WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus conceded Tuesday that his organization’s report did not sufficiently investigate the lab leak theory to make a determination.
“The team also visited several laboratories in Wuhan and considered the possibility that the virus entered the human population as a result of a laboratory incident,” Tedros said Tuesday. “However, I do not believe that this assessment was extensive enough. Further data and studies will be needed to reach more robust conclusions.”
“Although the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, this requires further investigation, potentially with additional missions involving specialist experts, which I am ready to deploy,” he added.