Earlier this month a group of 18 prominent scientists called for a deeper investigation into the circumstances concerning the origins of the coronavirus, including the possibility that it was created in a laboratory and accidentally released.
On Wednesday President Biden ordered a U.S. intelligence inquiry into the origins of the virus. The White House has been pressured to conduct its own investigation after China informed the World Health Organization that it considered Beijing’s part of the investigation complete, calling for efforts to trace the virus’s origins to possibly other countries.
Dr Anthony Fauci, has stated that he’s now “not convinced” that the virus has a natural origin, and that more research is required. At a White House briefing Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said, “Because we don’t know 100 percent what the origin is, it’s imperative that we look and we do an investigation.” Andy Slavitt, the White House’s top coronavirus response adviser, said the same day, “We need a completely transparent process from China. We need the WHO to assist in that matter. We don’t feel like we have that now.” Many experts, including those from the WHO, previously dismissed the lab origin theory, but information about the early infections has raised questions of whether COVID-19 did originate in the Wuhan Institute of Virology rather than via zoonotic or animal transmission. Mainstream media sources are now regularly running stories that imply that the virus might not be the result of a natural process of evolution.
The deepening investigation is a result of facts concerning three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology who became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report. This is far earlier than when the news of the virus was officially shared.
China has repeatedly denied that the virus escaped from one of its labs and accused the U.S. of exacerbating the lab-leak theory. On Sunday, China’s foreign ministry cited a WHO-led team’s conclusion that a lab leak was extremely unlikely.
In February, Facebook started banning posts and claims that the virus was man-made or manufactured. This was part of a list of misleading health claims that aren’t allowed on Facebook.
“We’re continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge,” Facebook said in its statement Wednesday.