Updated Assessment on COVID-19 Origins

Group of business people assembling jigsaw puzzle, team support and help conceptThe President of the United States has requested that the Intelligence Community (IC) update their “previous judgments” on the origins of COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019]. According to this assessment, “All agencies assess that two hypotheses are plausible: natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-associated incident.” The IC states that they will not be able to name the root cause of the disease until a “specific pathway for initial natural contact with an animal” is found, or if  “a laboratory in Wuhan was handling SARS-CoV-2 or a close progenitor virus before COVID-19 emerged.” The IC is generally in agreement on four main points:

• First known cluster of COVID-19 cases emerged in Wuhan, Chinain December 2019;• Virus not developed as a biological weapon;• Virus not genetically engineered;• China’s officials unaware of virus before pandemic emerged.

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) insists that they will not reach a conclusive decision on the origin of the disease without the cooperation of the Chinese. They specifically state in the assessment that Beijing is responsible for the lack of progress in determining the origin due to their unwillingness to share information and allegedly blame other countries, including the United States.

For more information, the abstract for this document can be found here. Also, be sure to check out HSDL’s Featured Topic on Pandemics and Epidemics. Please note an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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