Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (AR) heralded on Sunday new “circumstantial” evidence suggesting that the coronavirus came from a laboratory in China.
Speaking with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, the Arkansas senator discussed new cell phone data from China that reportedly suggests that roads around the Wuhan Institute of Virology were shut down in mid-October, according to Breitbart.
Wonders of a Wuhan lab
Early on in the pandemic, a wet market miles away from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was singled out as a likely point of origin for COVID-19, thanks to its close concentration of wild animals in filthy conditions. But increasingly, some have entertained the theory that the virus started with an accident at the laboratory instead.
On Sunday, Cotton discussed new “circumstantial” information that appears to corroborate the theory. According to cell phone data, it appears that a bizarre event happened in or around the Wuhan laboratory in mid-October, when movement on roads at the lab suddenly stopped.
“Reports emerged yesterday in the media that publicly available cell phone data suggests that roads around the lab in Wuhan was closed in the middle of October,” he said, according to Breitbart. The senator went on:
Again, this information is publicly available. American media has used it to analyze mobility patterns in states to see if our people are practicing social distancing. So the reports indicate that on major roads around these labs, Wuhan, you obviously had thousands and thousands of cell phones pinging towers day in and day out. And then, all of a sudden, it stopped.
According to a report from NBC, private analysis of commercially available cell phone data suggests that there was no cellular activity at a part of the lab for about three weeks, and that there may have been a “hazardous event” at the lab between Oct. 6 and Oct. 11. Some experts, however, are skeptical of the data.
Cotton said that if true, “this would be another piece of circumstantial evidence that there was some kind of accident or outbreak from those labs, not from the seafood market or anywhere else. That’s why it’s so important we get to the bottom of this data,” he told Fox, according to Breitbart.
America looks into lab theory
For his part, President Donald Trump has co-signed the laboratory theory, recently suggesting that he had seen corroborating evidence giving him a “high degree of confidence” that it came from a lab, Reuters reported. But many on the left have suggested that Trump is just looking for a scapegoat to blame for the pandemic — which they blame on Trump — and Dr. Anthony Fauci has dismissed the idea as well, The Hill notes.
U.S. intelligence has looked into the theory, although they have counted out the possibility that the virus was manmade, according to ABC News, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on China to make the lab available to American investigators. Researchers at the laboratory studied coronaviruses in bats with grant funding from the United States, which Trump recently cut, according to USA Today.
While there is no consensus on how the virus started, there is an emerging agreement — especially among Republicans — that China has not been forthcoming through the crisis. Cotton, a China hawk, has been among the strongest voices in Congress denouncing the communist nation’s role in covering up the coronavirus outbreak.
While the left downplays the theory, Cotton pointed out Sunday that the shutdown — if there was some kind of a shutdown — would have been disruptive for a city larger than New York.
“Remember, Wuhan is a city that is larger than New York City,” he said, according to Breitbart. “So, obviously, its roads are highly trafficked and heavily congested. So to shut down roads around the lab would suggest that they had some good reason to disrupt traffic patterns so severely.”