Former CDC Director, Now Free to Share Opinion, Reveals Where He Believes COVID Originated

Posted: Mar 26, 2021 10:40 AM
Former CDC Director, Now Free to Share Opinion, Reveals Where He Believes COVID Originated

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Former CDC Director Robert Redfield, who served under President Trump, is making headlines Friday after he shared his belief that the coronavirus, which has now killed over 2 million people, originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. Redfield had a surprising timeline too, telling CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta that he believes the virus started originating in a Wuhan lab in September or October of 2019.

“If I was to guess, this virus started transmitting somewhere in September, October in Wuhan,” Redfield told Gupta in an interview set to air this Sunday. “That’s my own feelings. And only opinion. I’m allowed to have opinions now."

He admits that that belief is in contrast to many of his fellow health experts.

“The other people don’t believe that,” he added. “That’s fine. 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.”

A team led by the World Health Organization investigated the likelihood of that scenario and concluded that it was "highly unlikely" that the virus escaped from a lab.

But as the Wall Street Journal pointed out, the details surrounding that probe were pretty suspicious. WHO gave Beijing veto power and they used it to reject three scientists nominated by the U.S. 

The WHO asked the U.S. to recommend government experts for the team, but it didn’t contact the three that Washington put forward, according to current and former U.S. officials. Another U.S. scientist was selected for the team. Beijing hasn’t publicly identified most Chinese participants or shared critical raw data on the first confirmed cases and possible earlier ones.

In addition, WSJ continues, "China resisted international pressure for an investigation it saw as an attempt to assign blame, delayed the probe for months, secured veto rights over participants and insisted its scope encompass other countries as well."

At the time of the study, WHO scientist Peter Ben Embarek instead shared the popular belief that the virus jumped from animal to human at a wet market.

"I do not believe this came from a bat to a human," Redfield said.