A remarkable consensus has emerged in the last few weeks: It’s no longer crazy to think that the COVID-19 pandemic was the result of a “lab leak” in Wuhan, China.
Just to set the stage, the lab-leak theory isn’t that China deliberately unleashed the virus as some sort of biological attack. If that were the plan, it seems unlikely that Chinese leaders would deploy this bioweapon on their own people first.
No, the theory is that this was some sort of accident—quite likely the deadliest and most costly accident in all of human history—and that the Chinese government covered it up. While not as villainous as a deliberate release, that would nevertheless be a monumental outrage because it would mean precious time was squandered that might have been better spent containing the outbreak before it became a pandemic. The death toll as of now is at least 3.5 million worldwide and roughly 600,000 in the U.S.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the lab-leak theory was dismissed by most of the media, public health officials (at home and abroad), and virtually the entire Democratic Party as a dangerous and debunked conspiracy theory.