The U.S. military’s top general said late Wednesday the evidence for the origins of COVID-19 remains “inconclusive” but blasted the Chinese government for its efforts to “cover-up” the investigation into the virus’ origins.
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Fox News while aboard a military aircraft while returning from the Air Force Academy that his opinion on the origins of COVID-19 “hasn’t changed” in the past year. He had previously said during an April 2020 press briefing that the “weight of evidence seems to indicate” the virus originated naturally, Reuters reported.
“My opinion hasn’t changed, because I haven’t seen any different evidence,” Milley said. “What I said a year ago, it’s still true today. It’s inconclusive, we don’t know.”
He also told Fox News that the reason investigators have been unable to conclusively determine the virus’ origins is because of the Chinese government’s “cover-up” of evidence and its “lack of transparency.”
“Once this virus started appearing, there seems to have been a fair amount of activity or cover-up or lack of transparency, probably the best way to put it, and all of that is disturbing,” Milley said. “So we need to get to the bottom of it. That’s clear.”
U.S. military’s top officer, Gen. Mark Milley, on China blocking investigation into Covid-19 origin: “There seems to have been a fair amount of activity or cover-up or lack of transparency, probably the best way to put it, and all of that is disturbing.”
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) May 27, 2021
China has faced scrutiny for suppressing crucial information about COVID-19 early on during the pandemic. A team of World Health Organization scientists who visited China earlier this year to further understand the virus’ origins noted that they only reviewed research conducted by Chinese government scientists and weren’t given full access to data. (RELATED: WHO, Not US Scientists, Will Lead Further Investigation Into COVID-19 Origins, Psaki Says)
President Joe Biden said earlier Wednesday that the intelligence community was considering two possible scenarios for the origins of COVID-19. He said two groups lean towards the theory that the virus began after human contact with an infected animal while one group leans toward the theory that it accidentally leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
But the president said the intelligence community has “low to moderate confidence” in either theory, and the majority of groups within the intelligence community do not believe there is enough evidence to believe one theory over the other.
“We need to know as a nation,” Milley told Fox News. “We need to know as a world, because the scale and scope of this pandemic was enormous. It still is enormous.”