On Monday, White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the idea that COVID-19 originated from a lab in Wuhan, China, a theory President Donald Trump and his GOP allies have floated in recent days.
Fauci told National Geographic that the theory doesn’t hold up when examined through the lens of science.
“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,” the doctor said.
“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,” he continued.
Fauci also pointed out that the notion that COVID-19 had somehow escaped from a Chinese facility after scientists brought it from the outside contradicts the theory’s underlining thesis that the virus came from the lab.
“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,” he said.
Trump, members of his administration, and right-wingers have been peddling the theory as the President attempts to dodge criticism of his response to the pandemic by deflecting the blame onto China. Trump has ordered the intelligence community to launch an investigation into his accusation, but officials have yet to find hard evidence.