Fauci on Chinese lab origin theory: ‘I don’t get what they’re talking about’

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The boss isn’t going to like this one bit.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told National Geographic it’s unlikely the coronavirus pandemic somehow started in a Chinese lab, despite suggestions to the contrary by President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike 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 said in an article published this week. “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.”

The 79-year-old Brooklyn native also dismissed the conspiracy theory that the virus was brought into a lab by Chinese scientists, then somehow spun out of control.

“But that means it was in the wild to begin with,” Fauci said in the interview, published Monday. “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.”

In his far-reaching interview with the science and nature publication, Fauci said there are always theories floating about, but he has a small team that decides which matters deserve his attention. The expert immunologist compared trying to consume all of the information about the pandemic to “drinking from a fire hydrant.”

Trump said last week that he had seen evidence that gives him a strong degree of confidence the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“Yes, I have,” Trump said without giving details. “I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China.”

The president also said last Thursday that “a terrible thing” had happened in China.

“Whether they made a mistake or whether it started off as a mistake and then they made another one, or did somebody do something on purpose?” he proposed.

Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that there is “enormous evidence” to support the president’s claim that coronavirus came from a lab, but seemed to waver on whether or not the virus might be man-made.

“The best experts so far seem to think it’s man-made, I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point,” he said.

When “This Week” host Martha Raddatz noted that the nation’s top intelligence experts have said it was probably neither man-made nor modified, Pompeo seconded that theory too.

“That’s right,” he said. “I agree with that.”

China’s Foreign Ministry counters that the Trump administration is looking for a scapegoat to justify its own handling of the pandemic.

Nearly 1.2 million Americans have been infected with coronavirus, which continues to spread. Fewer than 84,000 people in China have tested positive for the deadly virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide there have 3,646,206 confirmed cases since the virus was detected in Wuhan in November.


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