- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 4, 2021

The top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee accused Democrats on Sunday of “playing with fire” in refusing to back a thorough probe into China’s role in the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas said on “Fox News Sunday” that further scrutiny was required into the origins of the pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 Americans.

To date, Democratic congressional leaders have refused to back a widespread investigation into whether China played any role in the outbreak.

“I wish the Democrats would join with us on this very important investigation [into] what caused the problem,” Mr. McCaul said. “They’re really playing a dangerous game … they’re really playing with fire and that fire really lit up the world and burned. We need to get to the truth of the matter.”  

Chinese health officials detected the novel coronavirus virus in November 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. Beijing officially reported the virus to the World Health Organization in December of that year.

According to global health officials, the lag gave the outbreak time to spread and severely undercut the ability to impose quarantine measures. Although the origins of the virus are still not clear, evidence indicates a laboratory accident at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology cannot be ruled out.

China has refused to agree to a full-scale investigation by international health officials into the virus. The communist power also has balked at the idea of opening up the Wuhan Institute of Virology to outside health inspectors.

“We are getting information from other sources, and I believe there’s a high degree of probability now that it came from that lab,” Mr. McCaul said. “I call it the greatest cover-up in human history. And you don’t cover up something if you’re not trying to hide something. … [China] deleted all of their databases with respect to the virus at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is blamed for nearly 4 million deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

• Haris Alic can be reached at halic@washingtontimes.com.

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