Ousted New York Times reporter Donald McNeil Jr now admits the idea leaked from Wuhan lab ‘has become considerably stronger’.
In a McNeil Jr calls ‘s ‘lack of candor’ on the virus outbreak ‘disturbing’, arguing ‘more and and more scientists feel misled’.
McNeil Jr – who resigned from the NYT in February over his use of the N-word – writes: ‘We still do not know the source of this awful pandemic.
We may never know.
‘But the argument that it could have leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology or a sister lab in Wuhan has become considerably stronger than it was a year ago, when the screaming was so loud that it drowned out serious discussion.’
The lab is just a few miles from the Huanan wet market which is where the first cluster of infections erupted in Wuhan. The market is just a few hundred yards from another lab called the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (WHCDC).
US mainstream media had pushed back against the idea the virus leaked from a lab in the early days of the pandemic.
Outlets including the New York Times, CNN and Washington Post have each poured scorn on the suggestion which often came from the Trump administration.
Facebook in April last year labeled a saying the virus ‘might have jumped to the human population thanks to errors at a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan’ as ‘false information’.
DailyMail.com has contacted Facebook for comment.
And McNeil Jr admits his initially reaction to the lab-leak theory was ‘dismissive’. He details a story he wrote – which did not run – for the Times titled: ‘New Coronavirus Is ‘Clearly Not a Lab Leak,’ Scientists Say’.
But McNeil Jr now says: ‘To my mind, China could be forgiven for its standoffishness in early 2020.
But now, 17 months later, China is persistently acting like a nation hiding something.’
by his former NYT colleague Nicholas Wade titled ‘The origin of COVID: Did people or nature open Pandora’s box at Wuhan?’, McNeil Jr said China ‘denies access to the institute’s lab logs and whatever messages were swapped during its own investigations’.
He adds: ‘[It] took down 2018 statements critical of lab biosecurity protocols, retaliated against Australia for advocating an open investigation and sharply restricted the W.H.O.
After arguing ‘the likeliest explanation, animal or lab? keeps shifting in the direction of the latter’, he adds: ‘Calls for a better probe are mounting.’
Ousted New York Times reporter Donald McNeil Jr now admits the idea COVID-19 leaked from Wuhan lab ‘has become considerably stronger’.
McNeil Jr calls China’s ‘lack of candor’ on the virus outbreak ‘disturbing’, arguing ‘more and and more scientists feel misled’
The Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province. The lab is just a few miles from the Huanan wet market which is where the first cluster of infections erupted in Wuhan. The market is just a few hundred yards from another lab called the Wuhan Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (WHCDC)
Security guards patrol outside the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market on January 24, 2020
The Wuhan Institute of Virology is about 20 miles from the Huanan Seafood Market where the first coronavirus cases are reported to have occurred
McNeil Jr’s admission comes days after a group of leading scientists said the theory that the coronavirus was caused by a laboratory leak in Wuhan must be taken seriously until there is a rigorous data-led investigation that proves it wrong.
The experts also accused the World Health Organization’s probe into the origins of the deadly virus of failing to make a ‘balanced consideration’ of the theory that it may have come from a laboratory incident.
In its final report, written jointly with Chinese scientists, the WHO-led team who visited Wuhan dismissed the notion that the virus had escaped from a lab as ‘extremely unlikely’.
Instead, the probe concluded that transmission of the coronavirus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario.
But now scientists from leading universities and health organizations across the world have contradicted the WHO’s claims and said the lab leak theory ‘remains viable’.
‘More investigation is still needed to determine the origins of the pandemic,’ said the 18 leading scientists, including Ravindra Gupta, a clinical microbiologist at the University of Cambridge, and Jesse Bloom, who studies the evolution of viruses at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
‘Theories of accidental release from a lab and zoonotic spillover both remain viable,’ the scientists including David Relman, professor of microbiology at Stanford, said in a letter to the journal Science.
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The former director of the CDC , Robert Redfield, says he believes COVID-19 ‘escaped’ from a lab in Wuhan and may have been circling since September 2019
Former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield was dismissed by Dr.
Anthony Fauci after he said he believes COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab.
‘I’m of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathology in Wuhan was from a laboratory. Escaped. Other people don’t believe that.
That’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out,’ Redfield said.
Fauci, however, shot down those claims.
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta then broke ranks with his network to voice support for Redfield’s belief after the network’s commentators had sneered at his opinion.
The network had in one tweet insisted there was ‘a lack of clear evidence’ for the lab escape theory, but Gupta backed Redfield up in an interview published.
‘He’s an experienced virologist.
He was also head of the CDC at the time this was happening, which means that in addition to everything that we know, he had access to raw data and raw intelligence that was coming out of China,’ Gupta told Mediaite’s The Interview podcast.
David Arnold Relman, left, and Jesse D.
Bloom, right, organized the letter for the Science journal which said that the Wuhan lab escape theory can’t be ruled out yet
There are a variety of different ideas about the origin of the virus including a series of conspiracy theories.
‘We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data,’ the scientists said, adding that an intellectually rigorous and dispassionate investigation needed to take place.
‘In this time of unfortunate anti-Asian sentiment in some countries, we note that at the beginning of the pandemic, it was Chinese doctors, scientists, journalists, and citizens who shared with the world crucial information about the spread of the virus-often at great personal cost.’
The release of the WHO-China report was repeatedly delayed, raising questions about whether the Chinese side was trying to skew the conclusions to prevent blame for the pandemic falling on China.
Critics including ex-President Trump have accused the WHO of parroting Chinese propaganda on the virus since the outbreak was first announced to the world.
The report ruled out that the virus could have been leaked from a lab and instead gave credit to the theory that it could have been imported on frozen meat – a theory pushed by Beijing as it places blame for the pandemic outside its borders.
Amid a storm of criticism, WHO chief Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus – whose own cozy links to China have come under scrutiny – backtracked, saying that ‘all theories’ including the laboratory leak remain on the table.
Multiple countries have uncovered evidence that the virus was circulating months earlier than originally thought.
While Beijing has tried to insist this proves the virus originated elsewhere, most scientists still think China was the origin – raising the prospect that communist officials simply hid evidence of the early spread
Chinese scientists and officials have been keen to point the finger of blame outside their own borders – variously suggesting that the virus could have originated in Bangladesh, the US, Greece, Live Draw SGP Australia, India, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia or Serbia