Photograph: Reuters

Secretary of point out Mike Pompeo claimed on Sunday there is “enormous evidence” the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory – but did not supply any of the alleged evidence.

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Pompeo’s promises, built in an interview with ABC’s This Week, represented an escalation in rhetoric. He had beforehand said the US was hunting into the risk the virus arrived from a lab in Wuhan, China.

On Sunday, Pompeo claimed: “There is massive proof that which is in which this began”, afterwards incorporating: “I can convey to you that there is a important amount of money of proof that this arrived from that laboratory in Wuhan.”

At just one issue, the secretary of state appeared bewildered around whether he was boasting the Sars-CoV-2 virus (which leads to the Covid-19 disorder) was deliberately engineered or escaped as the result of a lab incident.

“Look, the ideal industry experts so significantly seem to be to consider it was manmade. I have no cause to disbelieve that at this place,” he claimed.

But when he was reminded that US intelligence had issued a formal statement noting the reverse – that the scientific consensus was that the virus was not manmade or genetically modified – Pompeo replied: “That’s proper. I agree with that.”

Donald Trump designed a very similar unsupported assert on Thursday, saying he was privy to evidence of the pandemic commenced in a Chinese lab but was not permitted to share it.

By Sunday afternoon, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, the US experienced confirmed 1,134,507 coronavirus scenarios and more than 66,000 fatalities. Around the globe, there have been just about 3.5m situations confirmed and more than 245,000 folks have died.

Beset by criticism of its reaction to the outbreak and management of the ensuing general public health and fitness disaster, the Trump administration has sought to target blame on China.

Most epidemiologists say that though it is probable the outbreak started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where coronaviruses have been intensively examined, it is a far fewer possible situation than the theory that it was transmitted naturally from bats via an middleman animal, mutating alongside the way to turn out to be harmful to people.

Tale continues

On Tuesday, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of personnel, Gen Mark Milley, mentioned “the body weight of evidence” pointed to natural transmission but was not conclusive.

Beijing has rejected the recommendation the virus could have escaped from a laboratory. But Chinese authorities have not permitted overseas authorities, which include investigators from the Entire world Well being Firm, to just take aspect in the investigation into the origins of the virus. Nor have they shared samples taken from wild animals at the Wuhan livestock industry in which they declare the outbreak started.

In 2018, US diplomats and scientists lifted worries in point out office cables about safety expectations and the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Examination of the initial 41 Covid-19 individuals in clinical journal the Lancet found that 27 experienced direct publicity to the Wuhan market. The same evaluation located that the very first regarded circumstance of the disease did not.

Pompeo has a patchy file on characterising US intelligence estimates.

He consistently claimed there was no direct proof linking Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to the murder of journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, contradicting considerable US evidence implicating him.

He also regularly claimed there was evidence of an “imminent threat” to US embassies posed by Iranian basic Qassem Suleimani, who the US killed in a drone strike in Baghdad on 3 January.

A official letter justifying the strike sent by the White Home to Congress in February made no point out of an imminent danger.

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