Fact check: Did the coronavirus originate in a Chinese laboratory?
Molly Stellino, USA TODAY Published 5:55 p.m. ET March 21, 2020 | Updated 5:56 p.m. ET March 21, 2020CLOSE The Army National Guard commander of a COVID-19 testing site explains the need for masks that actually work. USA TODAYThe claim: The coronavirus may have originated in a Chinese laboratory.As the new coronavirus spreads, misinformation about its origins circulate the internet.One of the most prominent examples of false information about the virus is an article published in January by the right-leaning Washington Times that claims the coronavirus may have originated in a research laboratory in Wuhan, China. More: Fact check: Coronavirus originated in China, not elsewhere, researchers and studies sayThe article quotes a former military intelligence officer who claimed the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a maximum-security Chinese laboratory granted authority to research dangerous pathogens, likely was involved in a biological weapons program.USA TODAY contacted the author of the article, Bill Gertz, with a request to comment on the source of the claim but did not get a response.The claim has spread beyond the Washington Times. People on multiple platforms and networks have shared the same or a similar version of the conspiracy. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, has suggested to Congress and Fox News that there may be