Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Wednesday raised the prospect that the coronavirus pandemic might have originated from a lab in China with the virus being let loose accidentally.
Mr. Cruz had shared an article in The Washington Times on social media about research on viruses being conducted just miles from an open “wet market” in Wuhan believed to be the origin point of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We know that at that facility, they were researching highly, highly infectious diseases including coronaviruses - including coronaviruses that [derive] from bats,” Mr. Cruz said on Fox Business Network. “And so they’re researching the exact same type of disease that became this pandemic.”
“There is a very natural question to ask of well, did somebody make a mistake? Were they studying this virus and did it escape accidentally, and is that part of why the communist government in China tried so hard to cover this up?” Mr. Cruz said.
He said what seems “plausible, if not likely” is that the virus was being studied at the lab.
“The natural inference, if there’s [an] outbreak right next to where they’re studying this virus is well somehow it escaped, presumably accidentally,” he said. “We don’t know that, but China doesn’t want that question answered for the world to know.”
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, among others, has floated a similar theory.
China, meanwhile, has raised the theory that the U.S. military might have been the one to bring the virus overseas.
“What a ridiculous, propagandist lie,” Mr. Cruz said.
China now has more than 82,300 positive coronavirus cases - the fourth-most in the world behind the United States, Italy, and Spain - and more than 3,300 coronavirus-related deaths, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University, though many doubt the figures being reported publicly by the Chinese government.