President Donald Trump said Friday at the White House that the United States would continue to investigate the origin of the coronavirus.
Recent reporting has questioned whether the virus could have come from a virology lab in Wuhan that was studying bats, rather than a bat sold in a Wuhan wet market.
Trump did not confirm or deny either theory but acknowledged that he was aware of the reports.
“It seems to make sense, they talk about a certain kind of bat, but that bat wasn’t in that area, if you can believe this, that’s what they’re down to now, is bats,” Trump said.
Newsmax reporter Emerald Robinson asked Trump about an NIH grant of $3.7 million to the Wuhan virology lab, during the Obama administration in 2015.
“We’ve instructed that if any grants are going to that area, we are looking at it literally an hour ago, and also early in the morning, we will end that grant very quickly,” Trump said.
He added, “Who was president then, I wonder?”
One reporter asked Dr. Fauci if the virus “was somehow manmade” in a lab. Fauci cited a study that said that the coronavirus sequences were “totally consistent” with the traits of a virus mutating and transferring from an animal to human.
The president also challenged China’s death toll, noting that news reports were uncritically saying that the United States had the most coronavirus deaths in the world.
“We don’t have the most in the world deaths, the most in the world has to be China, it’s a massive country, it’s gone through a tremendous problem with this,” Trump said. “They must have the most.”
Trump said that China’s announcement raising the death toll by 50 percent was only for the city of Wuhan, not the entire country.
“It is what it is,” Trump said. “What a sad state of affairs.”