May 12, 2020 - World

Rubio: "We don't have enough information" on coronavirus origins

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told "Axios on HBO" that there isn't yet enough information to determine whether or not the coronavirus outbreak resulted from an accident at a Chinese lab.

What he's saying: "I'm not ruling out that it could be a lab accident, and some experts have not ruled it out either," said Rubio. "Though I can't prove it and no one can because we don't have enough information to disprove it or prove it."

The backstory: Rubio expressed far less certainty than some top U.S. officials have in recent statements.

  • President Trump said on April 30 that he has a "high degree of confidence" that the outbreak originated in a lab accident in China.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on May 3 that there was "enormous evidence" that a lab accident was to blame for the epidemic.

Why it matters: U.S. allies with access to shared intelligence have said it is "highly unlikely" that a lab accident was the cause, fueling concern that the U.S. government might be pushing the theory for geopolitical reasons.

  • Based on scientific evidence, the leading theory is still that the virus originated in a bat and spread to humans via an intermediary animal.

Go deeper: U.S. statements on coronavirus origins diverge from allies

Go deeper