National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases head Dr. Anthony Fauci went on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday to claim that it was “a bit of a distortion to say that we deliberately suppressed” the so-called lab leak theory that COVID-19 originated from a lab in Wuhan, China.
“We also asked Dr. Fauci about competing theories on the origin of the coronavirus, including the idea that it started not in nature but in a lab in Wuhan, China,” said co-host Tony Dokoupil.
“Well, first of all, Tony, most of the scientists who know about virus phylogeny and biology will stay from a biological standpoint,” Fauci stated. “It’s still more likely this is a natural occurrence. We have always kept an open mind. End of January, beginning of February, when people looked at the virus and said, this could be something that came from a lab, I brought together a group of scientists.”
“I let people know about it,” he added. “People forget that, but if you go back then, even though you lean towards feeling this is more likely a natural occurrence, we’ve always felt you’ve got to keep an open mind, all of us. We didn’t get up and started announcing it, but we’ve always said keep an open mind and continue to look.”
“So I think it’s a bit of a distortion to say that we deliberately suppressed that,” Fauci continued. “When you’re a scientist until you definitively prove something, the nature of science, Tony, is to always keep an open mind, and that’s what we did. You can feel from a virological standpoint looking at things that this is going to be more likely a natural occurrence.”
“In addition to there being a lab in Wuhan, there are these wet markets where you have the human-animal interface that is a perfect set-up for the animal-to-human jump,” he concluded. “You keep open the possibilities, and you can have a strong opinion of one without closing your mind. That’s what I and many of the scientists have done.”