Facebook Reverses Course, Won't Ban Lab Virus Theory

Carla Harmon
May 27, 2021

His comments came after Biden asked the U.S. intelligence on Wednesday to report back to him on the origins of the virus within 90 days.

In a surprise statement, Biden announced that the USA intelligence community had delivered a report to him earlier this month on the virus's origins.

"The failure to get our inspectors on the ground in those early months will always hamper any investigation into the origin of Covid-19".

After more than a year hunting for the pandemic's mysterious origins before the first cluster was found at a Wuhan food market, it's unclear what new resources American spies may bring to the search.

Citing a USA intelligence report, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that a trio from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with a seasonal illness in November 2019, a month before Beijing disclosed the existence of a mysterious pneumonia outbreak.

The move follows growing calls in the USA and around the world for China to be more open about the beginnings of the pandemic.

Facebook will no longer remove posts that claim COVID-19 was man-made in recognition of the reignited debate about the virus's origins, a company spokesperson told ABC News.

While claims that the virus was man-made are not necessarily the same as it coming from the lab, officials appear to be leaning toward investigating the origins further and are open to more scrutiny on the lab theory.

That is essentially the same public determination that the intelligence community has had for more than a year about the origins of Covid-19 though Wednesday's statement does make clear that these two scenarios are "likely" and not just being investigated. "I still believe that the most likely scenario is that this was a natural occurrence", Fauci said.

President Joe Biden yesterday (May 26) ordered United States intelligence agencies to report to him in the next three months on whether the COVID-19 virus first emerged in China from an animal source or from a laboratory accident.

When asked during a White House briefing if the announcement was related to the recent USA intelligence report on the researchers falling ill, principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday the issue is "something that the President has been working on for some time".

The World Health Organization conducted an investigation into the origins of the pandemic and concluded in a report that the risk of an accidental leak from the Wuhan Institute, where coronavirus research was being conducted on bats, was "extremely low".

Andy Slavitt is an adviser to Biden. "Every piece of evidence points to a leak from this laboratory", Pompeo said in a tweet this week. "If we are blind as to its origins, then we are blind as to how to prevent it again the future", Sen.

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Republicans Josh Hawley and Mike Braun that would require the Biden administration to declassify intelligence on potential links between the Wuhan lab and the pandemic. Sen. Last year, after Australia called for an independent worldwide inquiry last year, China unleashed a series of economic sanctions on the country including tariffs on products like barley and bans on most beef exports. "That's why we've advocated very strongly that World Health Organization needs to go back and try again after the first phase of their investigation really satisfied nobody. And this time we need a really expert-driven, no-holds-barred collection of information, which is how we're mostly really going to find out what happened".

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