Seeking an answer from China about the origins of the deadly coronavirus, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said that the US needs to know the details of patient zero. Slamming China for a disinformation campaign, Pompeo in an interview to Jack Heath of The Jack Heath Radio Show also accused the World Health Organization of failing in its mission to provide the information to the world in a timely fashion about the risk that was emanating from China.
"We know that this originated in Wuhan, China. That was challenged by the Chinese at the front end. This administration was very clear we weren’t going to accept that disinformation, pushed back. I think the whole world knows that this began and originated there in Wuhan,” he said.
"Where exactly it came from, it matters. We want to know the answers to that. There’s evidence that it came from somewhere in the vicinity of the lab, but that could be wrong. We need to get the answer to that. It matters because we need to know where patient zero came from,” he said.
The US needs it for all of the epidemiological work that needs to be done to protect Americans today and tomorrow, he asserted.
In recent days, US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo have claimed that the deadly virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected last December.
Since emerging in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the coronavirus is confirmed to have infected 1.2 million Americans, killing more than 73,000.
Pompeo said that the US has no confidence in the data coming from China with respect to coronavirus. "There’s no reason to believe that information that’s coming out of China. As for how many there were, we’re trying to figure our way through that, but we are watching what China has done,” he said.
"There’s no reason to believe that either the reported cases that are coming out of China or the death totals that they have provided remotely reflect what actually took place and continues to take place there," he said.
The United States, he said, is working with partners in many countries around the world, sharing information, sharing data, trying to get both therapeutics and a vaccine.
“It is unfortunate that the Chinese Communist Party has chosen not to share their data, not to behave in a transparent way. They have a special obligation – this is where it broke out – to share that data with the world, and they have chosen not to do so,” he noted.
"I think that’s indicative of what communist parties do. It’s what communist institutions do. Freedom-loving nations want information shared, want transparency, and want good things for people all around the world,” he said.
Pompeo alleged that the WHO didn’t get it right. "The WHO failed in its mission to provide the information to the world in a timely fashion about the risk that was emanating from China,” he said.
"They knew it; they saw it. There was pressure from the Chinese government not to declare this a pandemic, and it became a political institution rather than a medical, scientific institution that it was designed to be,” Pompeo said, adding that the United States needs an institution that’s going to deliver good outcomes for the American people.
The US has suspended over USD 400 million funding for the WHO pending an inquiry.