Don't Miss Out

Subscribe to OCA's News & Alerts.

Why Science Writers Still Deny Lab Leak for COVID

The worldwide toll of deaths from Covid-19 has just hit 6 million, nearly 1 million of which are in the United States. Few science stories are more important than understanding where the Covid virus came from. Yet the science writers’ section of the press corps has proved strangely incapable of telling the story straight.

Two hypotheses have long been on the table. One is that the virus jumped naturally from some animal host, as many epidemics have done in the past. The other is that it escaped from a lab in Wuhan, where researchers are known to have been genetically manipulating bat viruses in order to predict future epidemics. Both hypotheses are plausible but, so far, no direct evidence exists for either.

The rule for covering such a story is obvious: write about both possibilities as evenhandedly as possible until the truth emerges. But science writers have consistently trumpeted any developments favoring natural emergence while downplaying or ignoring those pointing to a lab leak.