Britons are split down the middle over whether coronavirus emerged naturally or escaped from a Chinese lab, a poll reveals today. Research for MailOnline by Redfield & Wilton Strategies shows 41 per cent of the public think it a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan is the most likely source.
However, a similar proportion – 38 per cent – tend to the view that the virus was man-made and managed to get loose. The findings underline the scepticism in the UK over the information provided by Beijing about how the pandemic emerged.The theory that coronavirus leaked from a Wuhan lab raised by by Donald Trump last year, and dismissed in many quarters.
Instead, many scientists argued that it was more likely to have ‘jumped’ to humans from animals at a wet market. However, Joe Biden has now ordered the CIA to probe if the lab escape is the true story. His top epidemiologist Dr Anthony Fauci appeared to shift his stance on the theory this week saying ‘you never know’, having last year insisted there was ‘no evidence’ Covid was man-made.
China has condemned the new US approach as ‘smear campaigns and blame shifting’. The credibility Britons give the theory raises fresh questions about the stance taken by Facebook, which in February vowed it would ‘remove’ any posts that claimed coronavirus was ‘man-made’.
The tech giant reversed its ban on mentioning the idea this week hours after Mr Biden ordered the probe by intelligence agencies. ‘In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of COVID-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured from our apps,’ the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.