The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, said he received death threats from scientists after he told CNN he believed the coronavirus pandemic originated in a lab.
“I was threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis,” Redfield told Vanity Fair.
“I expected it from politicians. I didn’t expect it from science.”
The death threats allegedly came after Redfield spoke with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta in March.
“I’m allowed to have opinions, now. … I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory — you know, escaped. Other people don’t believe that. That’s fine,” Redfield said.
“Science will eventually figure it out. It’s not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect the laboratory worker.”
Despite a lack of clear evidence, former CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a CNN documentary clip released Friday that he believes the novel coronavirus began transmitting in fall 2019 and that the virus may have originated in a lab in China. https://t.co/r4CpbrNsBl pic.twitter.com/GZl1BbM5ZO
— New Day (@NewDay) March 26, 2021
Redfield told Vanity Fair his inbox was flooded with death threats following the interview, including from strangers who said he was being racially insensitive and prominent scientists who once were his friends.
One even told him to “wither and die,” he said.
The possibility that the coronavirus leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology was, until recently, roundly dismissed as a conspiracy theory by leading scientists and establishment media outlets.
In February 2020, soon after the first COVID-19 cases were detected in Wuhan, 27 scientists signed a statement in a highly respected medical journal saying that they “strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”
China has also insisted that the WIV was not the source of the pandemic.
But the theory has abruptly gained favor.
President Joe Biden last week ordered intelligence officials to “redouble” efforts to investigate the pandemic’s origins, including the possibility it escaped from a lab. British intelligence agencies are investigating the lab leak theory as well, according to The Times of London.
The World Health Organization called the theory “extremely unlikely” at the conclusion of an investigation last year. The U.S. and Britain have both asked WHO to take another look.
The Times cited an unnamed source familiar with the U.K. investigation who said it will be hard to ever get to the bottom of the pandemic’s true origins.
“The Chinese will lie either way,” the source said.
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