June 22, 2021 ~ New York Times ~By Spencer Bokat-Lindell
Did the Coronavirus Come From a Lab?
A year and a half later, we still don’t know for certain: How did the Covid-19 pandemic begin?
From the outbreak’s early days, most scientists assumed that the virus, SARS-CoV-2, had jumped from an animal to a person in late 2019, possibly at a meat market in Wuhan, China, the city of 11 million where the first known Covid cases were identified. But in May, The Times reported that U.S. intelligence agencies were investigating another explanation that had been debated for months: that the virus had accidentally escaped from a lab.
How did this idea, once dismissed as a conspiracy theory, become a plausible hypothesis for the virus’s origins? And why now? Here’s what people are saying.
The lab leak theory, explained
In late January of 2020, after Wuhan was placed under lockdown, The Lancet published a paper by Chinese scientists positing that the virus had come from bats, perhaps by way of another animal at the Wuhan meat market. It remains a reasonable assumption to have made: This kind of animal-to-human transmission, known as zoonotic spillover, is believed to be responsible for two-thirds of human infectious diseases, including Ebola, SARS and many types of the flu.