In this Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, photo, medical workers transfer a new coronavirus patient at a hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. Chinese authorities on Monday reported a slight upturn in new virus cases and hundred more deaths for a total of thousands since the outbreak began two months ago. (Chinatopix via AP)
UPDATED 2:05 PM PT — Tuesday, February 18, 2020
A top Trump administration official recently shot down rumors suggesting the coronavirus is a Chinese bioweapon. While speaking to reporters at an event in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, the assistant secretary for health said they currently have no information to prove it is a manufactured virus.
Admiral Brett Giroir’s response came after members of Congress questioned the claim by China that the disease came from an animal at a market in Wuhan. The Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary went on to say health officials are trying to confirm that information amid work toward a cure.
“What we have done with our policies is we’ve bought time and time is really important,” he stated. “We have a very good diagnostic test devised by the CDC and you know there were some things that needed to be worked out in some of the controls, but it is a good diagnostic test.”
The Trump administration reportedly offered to send scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study the virus in China more than a month ago, but Chinese leaders have yet to approve.
So far, the coronavirus has spread to more than 71,000 people globally and has killed nearly 2,000 people in China.