U.S. Intelligence Community Confirms Novel Coronavirus Not Manmade But Investigating Origins; Trump-China Rivalry Hampers Intelligence Gathering; Senior U.S. Officials Considering Retaliation Against China

The Hill: U.S. intelligence says it’s investigating COVID-19’s origins
“U.S. intelligence agencies in a rare public statement Thursday said they agreed with ‘the widespread scientific consensus’ that the COVID-19 virus was ‘not manmade or genetically modified’ but also that they are investigating whether it emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China…” (Beavers, 4/30).

TIME: How the Trump-China Rivalry Has Hampered U.S. Intelligence on COVID-19
“…More than five months and 225,000 deaths later, the U.S. intelligence community’s efforts to piece together the early spread of COVID-19 has been clouded by politics and self-interest in both China and the U.S., two of the countries that have suffered the most from the pandemic. Rather than doing all they could to share information to minimize the virus’ spread, both China and the U.S. have all too often focused on blaming the other for starting it…” (Walcott, 4/30).

Washington Post: U.S. officials crafting retaliatory actions against China over coronavirus as President Trump fumes
“Senior U.S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to four senior administration officials with knowledge of internal planning. The move could splinter already strained relations between the two superpowers at a perilous moment for the global economy…” (Stein et al., 4/30).

Reuters: Australian PM says no evidence coronavirus originated in China laboratory, urges inquiry (Packham/Mair, 4/30).

Science: NIH’s axing of bat coronavirus grant a ‘horrible precedent’ and might break rules, critics say (Wadman/Cohen, 4/30).

Washington Post: Chinese lab conducted extensive research on deadly bat viruses, but there is no evidence of accidental release (Warrick et al., 4/30).

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