Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been pushing a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus that caused a global pandemic was actually created in a Chinese lab.
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and touchstone for scientific guidance during the pandemic, said that there was no solid evidence to back the claims made by Trump and Pompeo.
“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,” Fauci told National Geographic. “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.”
Fauci said that the facts don’t align with Trump’s claim. According to Fauci, any theories that the virus “escaped” from a lab were unfounded because even in that circumstance the pathogen would have first been seen in bats in nature based on the virus’s evolution.
“That means it was in the wild, to begin with,” he said. “That’s why I don’t get what they’re talking about [and] why I don’t spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument.”