Speed Reads

origin stories

Biden gives U.S. intelligence community 90 days to report on COVID-19 origin theories

President Biden on Wednesday issued a statement on the investigation of the origins of the coronavirus that sparked the COVID-19 pandemic, calling on the U.S. intelligence community to "redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information" and "report back to me in 90 days."

Initially, the virus was believed to have jumped to humans naturally from an animal host. The scientific community still widely subscribes to this theory, but as time has gone on without any definitive answers, the notion that the virus began to spread after a laboratory accident (the theory is not to be confused with claims that the virus was a deliberately released bioweapon) in Wuhan, China, is now considered more plausible by prominent figures, or at least plausible enough that they believe it warrants a deeper look than investigators from the Chinese government and the World Health Organization have given it so far. 

Indeed, Biden's statement suggests the intelligence community's only consensus, at the moment, is that there isn't "sufficient evidence" to pin down one scenario as the most likely.