Fauci asks China to release medical records of first coronavirus cases

Dr. Fauci Admits He’s ‘Not Convinced’COVID-19 Developed Naturally.Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious diseases expert inthe United States, is questioning the origin of COVID-19.During a Poynter event,“United Facts of America:A Festival of Fact-Checking,”Dr. Fauci was asked whetherhe was confident the virusdeveloped naturally. .In response, Dr. Fauci admittedthat he “wasn’t convinced.” .He instead believes that we should “continueto investigate” COVID-19’s origin.No actually. I am not convinced about that.I think we should continue to investigate whatwent on in China until we continue to find outto the best of our ability what happened, Dr. Anthony Fauci, via 'NYP'.Dr. Fauci went on to cast doubt on the theory thatCOVID-19 started in animals, saying that “we needto find [out]” if something else happened.Certainly, the people who investigated itsay it likely was the emergence from ananimal reservoir that then infected individuals,but it could have been something else, andwe need to find that out, Dr. Anthony Fauci, via 'NYP'.So, you know, that’s the reason why I saidI’m perfectly in favor of any investigationthat looks into the origin of the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, via 'NYP'.Dr. Fauci reiteratedhis support for a “fullinvestigation” during aMay 11 Senate hearing. .When asked if it was possible that COVID-19 arose from alab accident, Dr. Fauci said “that possibility certainly exists.”

As more details emerge daily about the coronavirus’ origins, Dr. Anthony Fauci has reportedly asked the Chinese government to release medical records of nine people, including three researchers who worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and fell ill weeks before COVID-19′s first case.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Fauci said he would like to see the medical records of three people from the Wuhan lab who got sick in November 2019, according to a U.S. intelligence report.

As reported by Forbes, Fauci has asked Beijing to release the medical records of six miners who fell ill in 2012 after entering a bat cave. Three of the miners died. He also wants to see the medical records of three scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology who later visited the cave to collect samples from the bats.

Fauci — President Joe Biden’s top health adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — said it’s likely the virus jumped to humans from animals but added that investigations need to continue.

Speculation continues to run rampant the virus did not originate at a Wuhan “wet” market, as was originally reported, but escaped from a Chinese lab. Last month, Biden ordered U.S. intelligence officials to “redouble” their efforts to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, including any possibility the trail might lead to a Chinese laboratory.

After months of minimizing that possibility as a fringe theory, the Biden administration is joining worldwide pressure for China to be more open about the outbreak, aiming to head off GOP complaints the president has not been tough enough as well as to use the opportunity to press China on alleged obstruction. Biden has directed U.S. national laboratories to assist with the investigation and the intelligence community to prepare a list of specific queries for the Chinese government. He called on China to cooperate with international probes into the origins of the pandemic.

“The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence,” Biden said.

Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have promoted the theory the virus emerged from a laboratory accident rather than naturally through human contact with an infected animal in Wuhan, China.

Last week, China accused Biden’s administration of playing politics and shirking its responsibility in calling for a renewed investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Biden’s order showed the U.S. “does not care about facts and truth, nor is it interested in serious scientific origin tracing.”

Facebook has ended its ban on posts asserting COVID-19 was man-made or manufactured. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.

Fauci has said he and most others in the scientific community “believe that the most likely scenario is that this was a natural occurrence, but no one knows that 100% for sure.”

“And since there’s a lot of concern, a lot of speculation and since no one absolutely knows that, I believe we do need the kind of investigation where there’s open transparency and all the information that’s available, to be made available, to scrutinize,” Fauci said at a Senate hearing.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday the White House supports a new World Health Organization investigation in China but added an effective probe “would require China finally stepping up and allowing access needed to determine the origins.”

Biden still held out the possibility that a firm conclusion may never be reached, given the Chinese government’s refusal to fully cooperate with international investigations. “The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of COVID-19,” he said.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, without mentioning the Biden order, accused unnamed political forces of being fixated on a blame game while ignoring the urgent need to combat the pandemic.

Administration officials continue to harbor strong doubts about the lab leak theory. Rather, they view China’s refusal to cooperate in the investigation — particularly on something of such magnitude — as emblematic of other irresponsible actions on the world stage.

Privately, administration officials say the result, if ever known, won’t change anything but note China’s stonewalling is now on display for the world to see.

The State Department, which ended one Trump-era probe into the Chinese lab theory this spring, said it was continuing to cooperate with other government agencies and pressed China to cooperate with the world.

“China’s position that their part in this investigation is complete is disappointing and at odds with the rest of the international community that is working collaboratively across the board to bring an end to this pandemic and improve global health security,” spokesman Ned Price said.

After a slow vaccination start, China gave out 100 million shots of its COVID-19 vaccine over five days last month.

As of Wednesday, China had given out more than 704 million doses — with nearly half of those in May alone. China’s total is roughly one-third of the 1.9 billion shots distributed globally, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.

China is now averaging about 19 million shots per day, according to Our World in Data’s rolling seven-day average. That would mean a dose for everyone in Italy about every three days. The United States, with about one-quarter of China’s population, reached about 3.4 million shots per day in April when its drive was at full tilt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.