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."
YUGE: Former CDC Director Robert Redfield tells @drsanjaygupta he believes COVID-19 resulted from gain-of-function research at a Wuhan lab that leaked by accident and that the outbreak occurred in Sept/Oct 2019. @NewDay— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) March 26, 2021
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.”
Ex CDC Director Robert Redfield says he believes the coronavirus originated at a virology lab in Wuhan and began spreading in Sep 2019. Redfield led CDC under Trump says he is giving an opinion as a virologist. This is consistent with my reporting. CNN special airs Sunday. pic.twitter.com/KsVDRJtE0n— Zev Shalev (@ZevShalev) March 26, 2021
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.