In the early spring 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci rejected any thought that COVID-19 could have spawned from the level four lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, labeling it "conspiracy theory."
In an interview between Dr. Fauci and PolitiFact editor Katie Saunders, he changed his position on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and where the fault for the outbreak could lie.
When asked to comment, he recently said, "No, I'm not convinced about that. I think that we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we find out, to the best of our ability, exactly what happened."
"Certainly, the people who've investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals," he continued. "But it could've been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that's the reason why I said I'm perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus."
One year ago, Dr. Fauci stated, "If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats, and what's out there now is very, very strongly leaning toward this [virus] could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated—the way the mutations have naturally evolved. A number of very qualified evolutionary biologists have said that everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that it evolved in nature and then jumped species."
From the beginning of the outbreak, Republicans in the House Intelligence Committee have been skeptical of officials authoritatively dismissing the thought that COVID-19 came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. On May 19, 2021, they released a report that reveals "significant circumstantial evidence" to support their claims. That same report insinuates the U.S. government may have funded and even collaborated in the "giant of function" research that led to the global pandemic.
The report describes China's history of previous research lab leaks that have resulted in infections. As well as warnings issued by U.S. diplomats in China, as early as 2017, that the Wuhan lab was conducting dangerous research on coronaviruses without following necessary safety protocols. Also, the Chinese military was involved with the Wuhan lab which has a documented biological weapons program.
The report also chronicles multiple attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to cover up the true circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, conceded there is a possibility that a lab leaked the virus that started this pandemic.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently stated that the Chinese regime was not transparent from the beginning of the pandemic.
As this origin story of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, even celebrated experts like Dr. Fauci are changing their stance on the true source of the virus and fact-checking entities like PolitiFact are quietly removing their "false" labels from articles.
Fact-checking site PolitiFact stated, "When this fact-check was first published in September 2020, PolitiFact's sources included researchers who asserted the SARS-CoV-2 virus could not have been manipulated. That assertion is now more widely disputed. For that reason, we are removing this fact-check from our database pending a more thorough review. Currently, we consider the claim to be unsupported by evidence and in dispute."
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