Biden Orders Re-Investigation Into COVID Origins

On May 26, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that he has ordered a closer intelligence review of two equally plausible scenarios of the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this year, Biden said that he asked the intelligence community to prepare “a report on their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of COVID-19, including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”

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In a statement, Biden said, “As of today, the US Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question.” He added, “Here is their current position: while two elements in the IC leans toward the [human contact] scenario and one leans more toward the [lab leak scenario]—each with low or moderate confidence—the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.”

However, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not commit to making the findings of a future report public. Biden issued the directive as the origins of COVID-19, still officially unknown, are scrutinized more. In recent months, the hypothesis about the coronavirus escaping from a laboratory in China has gained increased mainstream traction. The lab came under heavier scrutiny during the last week of May after The Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers there had been sick with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, a little before the first cases of COVID-19 were reported. The newspaper cited a US intelligence report previously undisclosed.

However, Jean-Pierre said that this recent news did not influence President Biden’s order for the additional 90-day review. So far, the Chinese government has resisted the efforts of the US to trace the origins of COVID-19.