Anthony Fauci Dismissed Lab Leak Theory in 2020: It’s a ‘Circular Argument’

Anthony Fauci
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the coronavirus lab leak theory in 2020, deeming it a “circular argument.”

A May 2020 interview published in National Geographic displays Fauci’s initial resistance to accepting the lab leak theory as a legitimate part of the discussion on the origins of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic. The report resurfaces as President Joe Biden’s Energy Department admits that a lab leak likely caused the pandemic.

“Anthony ‘Tony’ Fauci has become the scientific face of America’s COVID-19 response, and he says the best evidence shows the virus behind the pandemic was not made in a lab in China,” the article began, explaining that the former coronavirus official “shot down the discussion” — the lab leak theory —  “that has been raging among politicians and pundits, calling it ‘a circular argument.'”

“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated. … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species,” Fauci told the magazine, which emphasized that Fauci “doesn’t entertain an alternate theory—that someone found the coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped.”


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The resurfaced interview comes as Biden’s Energy Department admits — albeit with “low confidence” — that the virus likely originated in a lab.

According to the New York Times:

The conclusion was a change from the department’s earlier position that it was undecided on how the virus emerged.

Some officials briefed on the intelligence said that it was relatively weak and that the Energy Department’s conclusion was made with “low confidence,” suggesting its level of certainty was not high. While the department shared the information with other agencies, none of them changed their conclusions, officials said.

Officials would not disclose what the intelligence was. But many of the Energy Department’s insights come from its network of national laboratories, some of which conduct biological research, rather than more traditional forms of intelligence like spy networks or communications intercepts.

Several lawmakers, including those who have long questioned the true origins of the virus, are demanding Biden declassify the information used by the department to deliver the latest conclusion.

“More evidence continues to mount that COVID came from the Wuhan lab. We’ve uncovered emails showing Dr. Fauci was warned that the virus looked man-made & came from a lab, but he may have acted to cover it up,” the Oversight Committee said on social media.

“Why? We need answers & accountability,” it added:

“Classified documents leaked (they should be declassified!) showing scientists at DOE believe COVID leaked from Wuhan Lab,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) — a fierce critic of Fauci — wrote on social media:

Fauci’s original remarks in 2020 stand in sharp contrast to what he stated in November 2022, claiming to have a “completely open mind” regarding the lawn leak theory. However, that would not be the first time Fauci has flip-flopped, also shifting his opinion on masking  throughout the pandemic and even going as far as changing the definition of gain-of-function to, as Sen. Rand Paul said, “cover [his] ass.” 

“You’re simply saying it doesn’t exist because you changed the definition on the NIH website. This is terrible, and you’re completely trying to escape the idea that we should do something about trying to prevent a pandemic from leaking from a lab,” Paul said, grilling Fauci during a November 2021 hearing. 

“And what you’ve done is change the definition on your website to try to cover your ass, basically. That’s what you’ve done; you’ve changed the website to change the definition that doesn’t include the risky research that’s going on. Until you admit that it’s risky, we’re not going to get anywhere,” the senator added. 


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