World Health Organization spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said in a news briefing on Tuesday that the science suggests the coronavirus more than likely came from an animal, dispelling a conspiracy theory that the virus originated in a lab in China.
"It's probable, likely, that the virus is of animal origin," Chaib said, per USA Today.
In a White House press briefing last Friday, Donald Trump said that U.S. intelligence officials were looking into whether a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan contributed to the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re looking at it,” Trump said, per the outlet, without citing any actual hard evidence to support his accusatory claim. "A lot of people are looking at it — it seems to make sense."
Just as recently as Tuesday, Sen. Tom Cotton suggested that the virus was in fact created in a lab in China.
Trump’s investigation into his own theory about the origins of COVID-19 comes after his decision last week to have the United States halt funding to the WHO, accusing them of "severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus."
By painting the WHO as the "fall guy," Trump is able to dodge blame for his poor overall response, despite his own administration's warnings of a possible pandemic, which date as far back as November. In late March, Trump also accused China of covering up the severity of the coronavirus, claiming that the country's lack of full transparency prevented the U.S. from acting in a manner where the spread of the virus "could have been stopped in its tracks."
While Trump sees no problem with the dangerous act of sharing false information based on a feeling or hearsay, the WHO is choosing science-based facts. The organization suspects that an intermediate animal host may have played a role since COVID-19 "most probably has its ecological reservoir in bats."