Member of WHO's Wuhan Investigative Team Faults U.S. Intel on COVID

A member of the World Health Organization's (WHO) investigation team sent to Wuhan, China, to uncover the coronavirus's origins criticized the U.S.'s intelligence on the virus following U.S. government skepticism about the team's findings.

In a Tuesday tweet, Peter Daszak, a British zoologist on the team, wrote that President Joe Biden "has to look tough on China. Please don't rely too much on US intel."

Daszak's tweet added that the U.S. was "increasingly disengaged under [former President Donald Trump] & frankly wrong on many aspects. Happy to help [White House] w/ their quest to verify, but don't forget it's 'TRUST' then 'VERIFY'!"

Well now this👇. @JoeBiden has to look tough on China. Please don’t rely too much on US intel: increasingly disengaged under Trump & frankly wrong on many aspects. Happy to help WH w/ their quest to verify, but don’t forget it’s “TRUST” then “VERIFY”! https://t.co/ukaNAkDfEG

— Peter Daszak (@PeterDaszak) February 10, 2021

The criticism from Daszak came in response to comments Tuesday from the U.S. Department of State, which expressed skepticism about the investigation's findings. On Tuesday, members of the WHO investigation team told reporters that their findings showed that the virus likely came from animals. The group's leader, Peter Ben Embarek, added that it was "extremely unlikely" that the virus came from a lab in Wuhan.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, "Broadly speaking, we have expressed our concerns for full transparency and access from China and the WHO to all information regarding the earliest days of the pandemic. It's imperative that the world learns as much as possible about the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic and its origins."

World Health Organization
A World Health Organization investigative team told reporters that its findings after a trip to Wuhan, China, showed that the coronavirus likely came from animals. Fabrice Coffrini/Getty

Price continued, "Clearly, the Chinese, at least heretofore, had not offered the requisite transparency that we need—and that, just as importantly, the international community needs—so that we can prevent these sorts of pandemics from ever happening again. The WHO is leading this investigation, we clearly support this investigation, we recognize there's urgent need for an investigation, but I wouldn't want to be conclusive yet about any sort of cooperation the WHO may or may not have received from China."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki also spoke about the WHO investigation during a press briefing on Tuesday.

"We're looking forward to receiving the report and data from the WHO investigation. We haven't looked at the data specifically ourselves, so we'd like to do that," Psaki said. "We've expressed our concerns regarding the need for full transparency and access from China and the WHO to all information regarding the earliest days of pandemic, but we weren't involved directly in the implementation of this investigation."

Newsweek reached out to the WHO and the State Department for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.