The intelligence community is unlikely to come to any definitive conclusions on the origins of COVID-19 as a result of its 90-day probe ordered by President Joe Biden in May, according to multiple reports.
The report is likely to show that officials are still divided over the two theories they started out with at the beginning of the probe, that COVID-19 either entered the human population through an accidental Wuhan lab leak or by jumping naturally from animals to humans, according to reports by CNN and McClatchy citing sources familiar with the assessment.
The corporate press spent much of the pandemic dismissing the theory that COVID-19 could have accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology because former President Donald Trump talked about it, according to Washington Post senior reporter Aaron Blake.
“It has become evident that some corners of the mainstream media overcorrected when it came to one particular theory from Trump and his allies: that the coronavirus emanated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, rather than naturally,” Blake wrote in an analysis piece published Monday. “It’s also true that many criticisms of the coverage are overwrought and that Trump’s and his allies’ claims invited and deserved skepticism.”
Blake explained that the media was justified in being skeptical of the lab leak theory because Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had leaned in “hard” to the theory without providing “even piecemeal evidence” to support their claims.
A group of scientists called for a more objective investigation into the source of COVID-19 in an open letter in Science magazine on Thursday.
“A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest,” the 18 scientists wrote, many of whom have conducted extensive research in microbiology and are from top U.S. universities.
A World Health Organization-led team released a report on COVID-19’s origins in March, and the WHO’s director general, the White House, the U.S. State Department and 13 other countries expressed concern that the report was compromised, particularly as China blocked the team’s access to key data.
Public health agencies and research laboratories need to open their records for investigation, the scientists say in their open letter.