Fauci Says He Has a ‘Completely Open Mind’ to Covid Lab Leak Theory

FY2023 Budget Request for the National Institutes of Health - Credit: CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
FY2023 Budget Request for the National Institutes of Health - Credit: CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

As he prepares to exit the government role he has occupied for decades as well as his position as Chief White House medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged the possibility that Covid-19 originated in a lab while stating that the evidence still points to a natural origin of the virus.

Appearing Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Fauci said he has a “completely open mind” when it comes to finding out how Covid-19 originated and spread.

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“I have a completely open mind about that, despite people saying that I don’t. I have a totally open mind about that,” Fauci told host Chuck Todd. “But if you look at the preponderance of evidence that has been accumulated by international group of highly respected, evolutionary virologists, they feel and they’ve written peer reviewed papers on that, that the evidence strongly points to this being a natural occurrence of a jumping of a virus from a bat to an animal species to human, hasn’t been definitively proven. But the evidence on that is pretty strong. Having said that, we still all have to keep an open mind as to what the origin is.”

Fauci added that China’s opaque behavior has not built up confidence in what their government says when it comes to how Covid-19 began. “Even when there’s nothing to hide they act in a suspicious, non-transparent way,” Fauci said.

The epidemiologist spoke about China in a separate appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. He told host Margaret Brennan that the Chinese government is “very suspicious of anybody trying to accuse them.”

“We need to have an open dialogue with their scientists and our scientists, keep the politics out of it,” he said.

Despite stepping down, Fauci will still likely be called to testify before the House now that Republicans have secured a narrow majority. Members of the GOP have stated their intent to investigate both Fauci and the origins of the pandemic. “The Republican House has said that they’re going to [ask me to testify] and that’s fine with me,” Fauci said, but he added that the GOP has “politicized” the virus.

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