Condoleezza Rice said the coronavirus lab-leak theory was too easily dismissed early on, and said the media was partly at fault

condoleeza rice
Condoleezza Rice.

  • Condoleezza Rice said the coronavirus lab theory was dismissed too easily early in the pandemic.
  • She said: “I think the press bears some responsibility for this.”
  • The theory was once dismissed by many experts, but recently gained new traction.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Condoleezza Rice said the theory that the coronavirus pandemic started by a virus escaping from a lab was too easily dismissed early on, and said the press was partly to blame.

The former secretary of state told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday: “There was too much of a tendency early on to dismiss this possibility of a laboratory leak, and I think there was a lot, and I think the press bears some responsibility for this.”

She described media reporting on the theory as saying: “‘Well, it had to be animal-to-human transmission.’ These were conspiracy theories about a laboratory leak. And in fact, some of the evidence was right in front of our faces.”

The theory was once dismissed by many experts, but has recently gained new traction. Some media outlets had previously described it as a baseless conspiracy theory.

In May, The Wall Street Journal uncovered a US intelligence report that found that three staff members at the Wuhan Institute of Virology got sick and went to the hospital more than a month before experts found the first COVID-19 cases in the Chinese city.

Days after the report was uncovered, President Joe Biden ordered a new investigation from the intelligence community into the origins of the virus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said in June that scientists should keep an “open mind” about the lab theory, but that it was “more likely” the virus spread from an animal to a human. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said in March that “all hypotheses remain on the table” about the virus’ origin.

Facebook has also reversed its policy of removing posts claiming the virus escaped from a lab.

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