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Former head of China's CDC says there is 'no evidence' coronavirus came from animals

The former head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that there is no evidence COVID-19 came from an animal and jumped to humans.

“Even now, people think some animals are the host or reservoir,” George Gao said at a summit in London. “Cut a long story short, there is no evidence which animals (were) where the virus comes (from).”

Gao served as head of China’s CDC at the end of 2019, when the coronavirus first emerged in Wuhan, China.

The World Health Organization has said that all hypotheses for the origins of COVID-19 remain on the table, including that the virus is linked to a high-security laboratory for the study of dangerous pathogens in Wuhan.

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George F. Gao, head of China's Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, attends a session at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China March 20, 2021. 

George F. Gao, head of China’s Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, attends a session at the China Development Forum in Beijing, China March 20, 2021.  (REUTERS/Roxanne Liu)

Several government agencies in the United States, including the FBI, have concluded that the lab leak theory is the “most likely” origin of the virus.

China, which has been criticized for its unwillingness to share information and help investigate the origin of the virus, has dismissed the lab leak theory.

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A health worker in protective suit takes a throat swab sample from a resident at a coronavirus testing site, Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Beijing. 

A health worker in protective suit takes a throat swab sample from a resident at a coronavirus testing site, Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Beijing.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Last month, a Chinese official dismissed the FBI’s conclusion that the lab leak theory was the likely origin.

“‘A laboratory origin of the pandemic was considered to be extremely unlikely’ is a science-based, authoritative conclusion reached by the experts of the WHO-China joint mission after field trips to the lab in Wuhan and in-depth communication with researchers,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said.

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Fox News Poll on origin of coronavirus by political party.

Fox News Poll on origin of coronavirus by political party. (Fox News Poll)

The latest Fox News national survey found that 62% of Americans believe that COVID-19 was created by scientists in China, while 33% think it evolved from nature. That’s almost identical to what views were two years ago (60%-31%).  

Some four in ten say the White House is being open and transparent about the origins of the virus, but a majority of 54% think the administration is covering it up – including most Republicans, over half of independents, and one-quarter of Democrats. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

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