KEY POINTS

  • A new U.S. report says Chinese experts "fell ill with COVID-like symptoms in Nov. 2019"
  • China reported the first case of COVID-19 to the WHO in December 2019
  • Top Chinese official dismisses the intelligence report

Former President Donald Trump has said he has ‘very little doubt’ that COVID-19 came from a lab in China during a special interview with former Secret Service Agent and author Dan Bongino. 

Trump’s comments come after a U.S. intelligence report, cited by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, revealed that a month before China reported its first COVID-19 cases in 2019, “three researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill and had to be hospitalized.”

In television commentator Bongino’s new radio program, “The Dan Bongino Show” which debuted Monday, Trump discussed several issues, including coronavirus’ possible lab origin.

“Now I have a clip I’m going to play for the audience, when you’re done, about you warning us about six, seven months ago, that there’s a strong potential that this [COVID-19] may have come from a lab,” Bongino said at the beginning of the interview. “You knew back then. You warned us. And these idiots in the media ignored us.”

“They don't like talking about that stuff, but now it came from the lab. I have, I have very little doubt and I mean, very, very little doubt came from the lab,” Trump said, referring to the novel coronavirus. 

According to the WSJ, the new disclosure provided more details than a previously issued State Department fact sheet, in the final days of the Trump administration. In the fact sheet, it was revealed that several researchers at the lab became sick in autumn 2019 “with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness,” but it did not say that they had been hospitalized. 

China reported the first case of novel coronavirus to the World Health Organization on Dec. 8, 2019. The UN health agency then sent a team of investigators to determine whether COVID-19 originated in the Wuhan lab. After a month-long investigation, the team concluded that the virus most likely jumped from bats to people via an intermediary animal hose. The investigators determined that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus leaked out of a lab. 

However, the WHO noted that its officials were not given access to all necessary information. It said that the Wuhan lab refused to share raw data and records on its work with coronaviruses in bats. 

Yuan Zhiming, the director of the Wuhan National Biosafety Lab, dismissed The Journal’s report Monday. 

"I've read it, it's a complete lie," he told China’s state-run tabloid Global Times, according to CNN. "Those claims are groundless. The lab has not been aware of this situation, and I don't even know where such information came from," he added.

The report said the idea tha the virus originally escaped from a lab like the Wuhan Institute of Virology was "extremely unlikely The report said the idea tha the virus originally escaped from a lab like the Wuhan Institute of Virology was "extremely unlikely" Photo: AFP / Hector RETAMAL