Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), could not definitively rule out the theory that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory.
Cuccinelli, who serves as a top member on the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force, said Monday that the origins of the novel virus remain unknown, and while its characteristics suggest it isn’t man-made, he could not completely reject the theory that it was created in a laboratory in China’s Hubei province.
“Our colleagues at CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and NIH [National Institutes of Health] on the task force have made it very clear [that] we don’t yet know the origin of this particular virus,” Cuccinelli told Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Marc Siegel on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“We are not entirely sure how this one started yet,” Cuccinelli continued. “There is a biological facility in the Hubei province that people worry about. But I will say the reading that I have done of medical professionals suggest that the structure of the virus seems unlikely to have been man-made because if it was made to be a threat, you would expect to see certain characteristics that aren’t present.”
“Does that mean it rules it out? No, not absolutely,” he said.
The coronavirus outbreak began in late 2019 in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei province. Since then, it has spread to most every corner of the globe. There are now more than 77,600 confirmed cases and 2,663 deaths in China from the novel virus, according to NBC News. The White House is seeking $2.5 billion in emergency funds to fight the coronavirus.
The World Health Organization, however, has yet to deem the virus as a pandemic.
The coronavirus has killed more people than SARS, another deadly virus that originated in China. Fears of a global pandemic caused the stock market to plunge, with the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq all falling when the markets opened Monday morning.
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Image: A security officer in a protective mask checks the temperature of a passenger following the outbreak of a new coronavirus, at an expressway toll station on the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, in Xianning, a city bordering Wuhan to the north, Hubei province, China January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Martin Pollard.