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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that there's "enormous evidence" to support the theory that the coronavirus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, not a nearby market.

Why it matters: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence announced Thursday that it is investigating whether the outbreak was the result of exposure to wild animals or a laboratory accident in Wuhan. Pompeo said he has no reason to doubt the intelligence community's consensus that the virus was "not manmade or genetically modified."

  • President Trump also claimed last week that he has seen evidence that gives him a "high degree of confidence" that the lab was the origin of the virus, but refused to elaborate.

What he's saying:

"Martha, there's enormous evidence that that's where this began. We have said from the beginning, that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outset. But I think the whole world can see now. Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running sub-standard laboratories. These are not the first times that we have had the world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab."
— Mike Pompeo

The big picture: There are two similar-sounding theories that link the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the origin of the coronavirus, as Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian has reported. One is very unlikely; the other is plausible but unverified.

  • The first is that the coronavirus was created as part of a Chinese bioweapons research program allegedly linked to the WIV. Virologists have determined this is highly unlikely.
  • The second is that the virus was being studied at the WIV, and a lab accident resulted in the virus' accidental transmission to an employee who then unknowingly spread the virus in the city. This is plausible, but there is no direct or public evidence to support it.

Go deeper: What we know about the Chinese lab at the center of the coronavirus controversy

Go deeper

Updated 18 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: Pfizer begins study on 3rd vaccine dose as booster shot against new strains — Republicans are least likely to want the coronavirus vaccine
  3. U.S. news: California surpasses 50,000 deaths COVID-19 deaths, more than any other state — Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter return to church after receiving COVID-19 vaccines
  4. Local: Public transit ridership in Twin Cities dropped 53% amid pandemic — Data firm predicts "complete chaos" in next phases of Florida's vaccine rolloutAlaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy tests positive for the coronavirus
Aug 10, 2020 - Health

At least 48 local public health leaders have quit or been fired during pandemic

Former California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell on Feb. 27 in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At least 48 local and state-level public health leaders have retired, resigned or been fired across 23 states since April, according to a review by the AP and Kaiser Health News.

Driving the news: California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell resigned on Sunday without explanation, a few days after the state fixed a delay in reporting coronavirus test results that had affected reopenings for schools and businesses, AP reports.

Aug 11, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to the virus

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We've hit a tipping point in the pandemic: Half of Americans now know someone who's tested positive, according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: In practical terms, this data shows it's everybody's problem now.