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Fauci conflicts with Trump, doesn't believe virus released from Chinese lab

Fauci's assertion came in interview with National Geographic as tensions rise wit Beijing over pandemic.

Published: May 5, 2020 8:35am

Updated: May 5, 2020 9:46am

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's infectious disease chief, says he doesn't believe the theory that the deadly novel coronavirus was accidentally unleashed by a lab in Wuhan, China as President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have suggested. 

“The best evidence shows the virus behind the pandemic was not made in a lab in China," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with National Geographic published on Monday. "Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species."

The statement by Fauci, also a leading member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, conflicts assertions from Trump and Pompeo, who have recently said that there is convincing evidence that the virus originated in a Chinese lab, not from animal to human transmission at a wildlife food market in Wuhan, as Chinese officials have said.

Beijing has roundly denied any accusation that the virus originated in one of its facilities, and recently a state-owned media outlet published an editorial claiming Pompeo was “bluffing,” about any convincing evidence he might’ve seen.

Rising tensions between the United States and China pertaining to the pandemic are manifesting across the spectrum of the relationship between the two global powers.

On Monday, stocks fell as investors predicted turmoil between the two nations. Military tensions have also escalated as last week the U.S. Navy sailed a ship through the South China Seas, signaling a challenge to the People’s Liberation Army over the contested waters.

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