Ex-CDC chief: coronavirus escaped from Wuhan lab

Robert Redfield’s opinion echoes that of other senior Trump administration officials

Robert Redfield, who headed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during Donald Trump’s presidency, opined that the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic probably “escaped” from a laboratory in Wuhan. This theory, which has exacerbated friction between China and Western countries, is rejected by many epidemiologists.

Redfield said of his assumption in an interview with CNN, “It happens that respiratory pathogens worked with in the lab infect a lab worker.”

Redfield added that he thinks it is unlikely that bats caused the disease – as many experts believe – “because it is one of the most easily transmitted viruses from person to person.” He added that he did not claim that the virus was deliberately “released” from the lab. Redfield’s opinion echoes that of other senior Trump administration officials.

Epidemiologist Anthony Fauci, who worked in the Trump administration and now in the Biden administration and was asked to comment on Redfield’s statement, said most experts disagree with the theory.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing a report on the origin of the coronavirus. In February, a WHO spokesman said that bats remain a possible source and ruled out the possibility of a leak from the lab.

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