Fauci stresses keeping 'open mind' on coronavirus origin amid scrutiny over lab-leak theory

Fauci has ‘a lot of questions to answer’ on the origins of COVID-19: Pompeo

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the researcher who thanked Dr. Fauci for downplaying the lab leak theory has ‘dirty hands.’

Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed keeping “an open mind” regarding the origin of coronavirus as he faces increased scrutiny over the lab-leak theory following the release of thousands of his emails. Fauci, appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” also said that he didn’t necessarily dismiss the lab leak theory as a conspiracy, but felt it was “more likely to be” an animal-to-human transmission scenario. 

“The situation is that we didn’t know and we still don’t know what the origin is,” he said Thursday. “If you look historically in the way things rolled out, we all felt and still do actually, that it is more likely to be a natural jumping of species from an animal reservoir to a human, however since we don’t know that for sure, that you’ve got to keep an open mind.” 

Critics such as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have said Fauci’s archive of emails paint a “disturbing picture.” However, Fauci said that in the months since his early emails regarding the virus origin his mind hasn’t necessarily changed regarding the lab-leak theory either in for or against. 

“You could say you think one thing is more likely than the other, but the fact that it could have been something else clearly was there, it was low on the list of what we thought the likelihood was, but in fact that’s the reason why we all are now saying there is a considerable amount – appropriately – of interest in trying to find out what the origin is, and that’s why we are all in favor of a fair, open investigation to see if we can actually find out the origin, because we want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” 

The emails were obtained by BuzzFeed via a Freedom of Information Act request. 

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., one of the loudest voices regarding the lab-leak theory, said in a statement provided to Fox News that the emails showed Fauci “coordinated with one of the Wuhan Lab’s founders to cover-up the plausible notion that the virus could have come from inside the lab.” 

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