Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), says he is not convinced by recent reports that raccoon dogs at a wet market in Wuhan, China, may have started the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s important, one, they didn’t show that the raccoon dogs were actually infected,” Redfield said in an interview on Rising, the YouTube show I host for The hill. “What they showed was that they might have raccoon dog DNA on swabs that also had the COVID-19 virus. It is not uncommon for animals to be infected instead of being the intermediate reservoir.”
Redfield went on to slam both Anthony Fauci – a former White House COVID-19 adviser and key National Institute of Health (NIH) figure – and the national media for stigmatizing the theory that the virus may have emerged as a result of a laboratory accident rather than an animal outburst.
“I think the whole approach, especially by the NIH leadership, was anti-science,” he said. “I stay true to my testimony, and I know Dr. Fauci has some disagreement. But he is wrong.”
Both hypotheses should be pursued and vigorously investigated, according to Redfield.
Last month, the Department of Energy concluded with low confidence that the lab leak theory was more convincing than the wet market theory. The FBI came to a similar conclusion. Partly because of Fauci’s influence, government health advisers initially opted for a zoonotic origin; as a result, some media described the lab leak as a fringe idea, embraced by conspiracy theorists.
“There’s a strong bias, in my opinion, to try to promote a spillover hypothesis rather than having an honest scientific debate,” Redfield said.
Watch the interview below.