Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr Francis Collins, appeared to dismiss the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab as a ‘conspiracy’ in a message to Dr Anthony Fauci, newly released emails show.
The message, which was sent April 16, 2020, was included in a batch of more than 3,200 of Fauci’s emails that were obtained and published by Buzzfeed on Tuesday.
The subject line of Collins’ email to Fauci and several others at the National Institutes of Health was titled ‘conspiracy gains momentum’.
It included a link to a Mediaite news article referencing comments made a day earlier about the Wuhan lab leak theory by Fox News anchor Bret Baier.
The contents of Collins’ email was redacted.
Fauci replied on April 17 at 2.45am but his response also was blacked out.
NIH Director Dr Francis Collins (left) appeared to dismiss the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a Wuhan lab as a ‘conspiracy’ in an email to Dr Anthony Fauci (right) on April 16 last year
The other email recipients included NIH Deputy Director Dr Lawrence Tabak, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Deputy Director Clifford Lane and NIH spokesman John Burklow.
The story linked in Collins’ original email was based on an April 15 broadcast on Fox News during which Baier told fellow anchor Sean Hannity that ‘multiple sources’ believed COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan lab before accidentally escaping.
‘This is from multiple sources who have been briefed at the beginning part of the origins of China and the beginning of the virus. They’ve also seen documents, open source and classified,’ Baier said.
‘We’ve asked to see those documents directly, but they are saying that it is increasingly likely, that there is increasing confidence that the virus – COVID-19 – started in a Wuhan lab.
‘They’re saying it occurred naturally because China was trying to show that they could be as good or better than the US in handling viruses, discovering viruses, and that this was a botched effort to contain this and it got out to the population.
‘They are 100 percent confident that China altered the data, the statistics, they did a lot of things to contain the information. Meanwhile, they cut down, as you mentioned, travel from Wuhan internally, but left the international flights going, and there obviously is how you have a spread like this.’
Evidence has been mounting of late that supports the theory that the pandemic began as an accidental leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The subject line of Collins’ email to Fauci and several others at the National Institutes of Health was titled ‘conspiracy gains momentum’. It included a link to a Mediaite news article referencing comments made a day earlier about the Wuhan lab leak theory by Fox News anchor Bret Baier (above)
New evidence, including word of three workers at the Wuhan lab who fell seriously ill with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, has forced a sober reassessment among doubters
President Joe Biden last week ordered a 90-day intelligence review to investigate the possibility and several high-profile public health experts have come out in recent months saying they believe that’s how COVID-19 started.
Former CDC director Robert Redfield told CNN in March that he believes the virus ‘escaped’ from a Wuhan lab and started spreading as early as September 2019.
Even Collins appeared to change his tune as recently as last month while speaking to senators when he told them the Wuhan lab leak theory couldn’t be completely ruled out.
‘It is most likely that this is a virus that arose naturally, but we cannot exclude the possibility of some kind of a lab accident,’ he said.
The media and academics long heaped scorn on the lab leak hypothesis, insisting that it was a fringe conspiracy theory and even racist after Donald Trump embraced the idea.
But new evidence, including reports of three workers at the Wuhan lab who fell seriously ill with COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, has forced a sober reassessment among doubters.
‘I think a lot of people have egg on their face,’ ABC News Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl admitted on Sunday. ‘Some things may be true even if Donald Trump said them.’
‘Because Trump was saying so much else, that was just out of control… but now serious people are saying it needs a serious inquiry,’ he said.
Facebook also has been forced to reverse its policy censoring posts speculating that the virus was engineered in a lab, amid serious questions about the ‘gain of function’ experiments being done on coronavirus strains at the Wuhan lab.
Three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology reported COVID-like symptoms in November 2019, before the virus began to spread around the world
China continues to furiously deny that the virus behind COVID-19 escaped from its lab in the original epicenter, accusing the United States of taking a ‘dangerous stance’ in calling for a full investigation into the possibility.
It comes after another trove of Fauci’s emails, published by the Washington Post, revealed his cozy relationship with China’s top infectious disease expert during the early days of the pandemic.
The emails were exchanged between Fauci and Dr. George Gao – the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention – in March and April of last year.
Fauci did not ask any questions about the origins of the virus.
In March, Gao had told Science magazine that it was a ‘big mistake’ for US experts (including Fauci) to tell their citizens that they did not need to wear face masks.
A subsequent email shows that Gao was anxious as to how Fauci would interpret the remark.
He messaged Fauci on March 28 saying: ‘I saw the Science interview… That was journalist’s wording. Hope you understand. Lets work together to get the virus out of the earth.’
Fauci warmly replied: ‘I understand completely. No problem. We will get through this together.’
On April 3, Fauci formally reversed his stance on mask-wearing, telling Americans that they should cover their noses and mouths to stop the spread. The top doctor was slammed by numerous pundits and millions of Americans for giving mixed messages.
He later said he did so to try and prevent members of the public panic-buying masks when hospitals were struggling to obtain adequate supplies of PPE.
Less than a week later, Gao emailed Fauci again expressing his support amid the onslaught of attacks.
‘I saw some news (hope it is fake) that you are being attacked by some people. Hope you are well under such a irrational situation,’ Gao wrote on April 8.
‘Thank you for your kind note. All is well despite some crazy people in this world,’ Fauci replied three days later.