Nashville: Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of trying to deflect criticism of his handling of the COVID-19 lab leak theory in the wake of a fiery interview in which he called his detractors ‘anti-science’ warriors.
At the New York Times ‘Sway’ podcast, Fauci discussed the lab leak theory at length, reiterating that human contact with an infected animal, and not a lab accident, was the most likely cause of the pandemic. Last May, Republican lawmakers, including Blackburn, criticized Fauci for declaring that there was no evidence to support the lab leak theory.
‘Wether intentionally or unintentionally, Dr. Fauci’s statements protected the CCP from being directly charged with the creation of this deadly pandemic by downplaying the possibility that the virus escaped from the laboratory,’ Blackburn said in a statement. Fauci, along with the mainstream media, dismissed the lab leak theory as a fanciful myth. At one point, Facebook censored discussions about COVID’s origins, so there was no way to change the truth.
Both theories were ordered to be further investigated by the intelligence community and reported back to the President within 90 days. The Wall Street Journal reported in the fall of 2019 that three researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with COVID-19-like symptoms following a lab leak theory once dismissed as a conspiracy. Fauci was asked by Blackburn to explain why he did not investigate the lab leak theory earlier and why he did not publicly oppose initial reports that discounted the idea.
In the podcast, Fauci explained his skepticism regarding the lab leak theory, arguing that virologists had reviewed available evidence suggesting COVID-19 was ‘absolutely totally compatible with something that evolved from bat viruses’. The virus was not ‘something that came from a laboratory,’ he added.
In Fauci’s view, the debate over the theory is becoming ‘political’. Fauci rejected allegations made by Blackburn and other GOP lawmakers that he worked with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to censor posts about the lab leak theory. Email exchanges between Fauci and Zuckerberg that were made public after Freedom of Information Act requests by multiple outlets led to the criticism. ‘Any suggestion like that is total fantasy and total conspiracy theory,’ Fauci said.