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More Americans believe COVID-19 manufactured in, escaped from Chinese lab, survey shows

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A newly released survey found that the vast majority of Americans polled believe that COVID-19 was developed in a Chinese lab and then escaped, leading to a global pandemic that has infected nearly 172 million people and reportedly killed some 3.5 million.

According to the TIPP polling firm, 44 percent of those surveyed said they believe that the novel coronavirus was developed in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and half of them also believe that the virus was intentionally released.

Meanwhile, 22 percent of respondents “think it came from animals,” the firm noted, while 11 percent “think it’s a naturally occurring virus” and 8 percent “think the virus came to be as a result of human living habits.” Sixteen percent of respondents weren’t certain of anything, meaning that a majority of respondents believe China is directly responsible for creating a global pandemic.

Of those 44 percent who believe the virus was manufactured, 54 percent said they believe the Communist Chinese government released COVID-19 on purpose, while 32 percent said they believe the release was accidental and 14 percent could not say one way or the other.

The poll was taken after The Wall Street Journal reported in recent days that institute staffers had sought in-patient hospital care after demonstrating corona-like symptoms several weeks before the first cases of the new virus were recorded by Chinese public health officials in Wuhan.

But as more Americans entertain the notion that the virus was intentionally developed in the lab, members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party have become increasingly agitated.

“It’s ridiculous to ask intelligence units to do the work that should be done by scientists,” said former Chinese Centers for Disease Control lead epidemiologist Zeng Guang in an interview with the Global Times, a state-run news agency considered to be the propaganda arm of the CCP.

China’s response came on the heels of a letter sent to the magazine Science by a group of leading scientists who pushed back on a World Health Organization investigation team comprised, in part, of Chinese researchers, which they say did not give legitimate consideration to the lab leak theory. The scientists also noted that WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus even said the investigative team’s report did not include sufficient information about a potential leak, as he called for additional resources to more closely examine the theory, US News & World Report noted.

“We must take hypotheses about both natural and laboratory spillovers seriously until we have sufficient data,” the group wrote. “A proper investigation should be transparent, objective, data-driven, inclusive of broad expertise, subject to independent oversight, and responsibly managed to minimize the impact of conflicts of interest.”

The Global Times rejected the letter and its insinuation before quoting an anonymous source who reportedly said “some scientists are working on a rebuttal.”

But increasingly, U.S. officials and the American media appear to finally be warming to the possibility that that COVID-19 was lab-produced even though Trump administration officials including then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, as well as the former president himself, have publicly proffered the possibility for more than a year.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), was also an early believer in the lab-leak theory, and the first U.S. lawmaker to publicly state as much in April 2020, drawing the ire of major media figures and outlets.

Jon Dougherty

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