U.S. Energy Department reportedly backs COVID-19 Chinese lab leak theory with 'low confidence'

The U.S. Energy Department has concluded, with "low confidence" but based on new intelligence, that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 likely emerged from a virus lab in Wuhan, China, in an accidental leak, The Wall Street Journal and other news organizations reported Sunday, citing a classified intelligence update recently provided to the White House and Congress.

The Energy Department, which runs a network of national labs, was previously undecided between the lab leak theory of the pandemic's origins and the hypothesis that the virus spread to humans naturally from an animal. The new assessment puts the Energy Department in the minority. Of the eight agencies investigating the pandemic's origins, four say (with "low confidence") that the natural transmission theory is most likely, as does the National Intelligence Council. The CIA and another agency are undecided, and the FBI leans (with "moderate confidence") toward the lab leak theory.

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