CNN Touts COVID Lab Theory It Previously Slammed Fox Over

On Friday’s New Day, CNN highlighted former CDC director Robert Redfield arguing his belief that the virus not only leaked from a lab in Wuhan, but that it was genetically modified to make it more dangerous to humans.

It only took CNN six months to catch up to the theory that was explored on Fox News Channel back in September when Tucker Carlson interviewed a Chinese virologist who had fled China and explained why she believed it had been modified in a lab instead of coming from nature. CNN.com was among those outlets that tried to undermine the Fox News segment at the time.

At 8:24 a.m., New Day co-host John Berman touted medical correspondent Doctor Sanjay Gupta’s interview with Doctor Redfield, predicting that it would “break some pretty significant news.”

Previewing a CNN special to air this weekend, Doctor Gupta declared that “this was extraordinary, John, for certain. He is the former CDC director — he’s spent his entire career as a virologist…”

In a pre-recorded piece, after Doctor Redfield recalled that he believes the outbreak began in October or September of 2019, he then suggested that he is now more willing to give his opinion because he no longer holds public office:

I’m allowed to have opinions now. You know, I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was a — from a laboratory, you know, escaped. Other people don’t believe that — that’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out. It is not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect a laboratory worker.

Gupta then added: “It is also not usual for that type of research to be occurring in Wuhan. The city is a widely known center for viral studies in China, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has experimented extensively with bat coronaviruses.”

After noting that he was not claiming that the virus was released from the lab intentionally, he further argued that it was unlikely that such a virus so contagious in humans could have just jumped directly from nature:

I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human, and, at that moment in time, the virus came to the human — became one of the most infectious viruses that we know in humanity for human to human transmission. Normally, when a pathogen goes from an animal to human, it takes a while to figure out how to become more and more efficient in human to human transmission. I just don’t think this makes biological sense.

He then added:

Let’s just say that I have coronavirus that I’m working on — most of us in a lab who are trying to grow a virus, we try to help make it grow better and better and better and better and better and better so we can do experiments and figure out about it. So that’s the way I’d put it together.

Back on September 15, on Tucker Carlson Tonight, the show aired an interview with Chinese virologist Doctor Li-Meng Yan, who similarly argued that she could identify evidence that the virus had been deliberately modified in a lab, although she also pushed the view that it was intentionally released.

Liberal outlets like CNN.com and PolitiFact insisted that the theory had no credibility. 

On the next night, Carlson informed viewers that his interview had been flagged with warnings by some social media, and that Twitter had suspended the Chinese virologist’s account.

This episode of CNN’s New Day show was sponsored in part by Trivago. Their contact information is linked.

Transcript follows:

CNN

New Day

March 26, 2021

8:24 a.m. Eastern

JOHN BERMAN: So Doctor Robert Redfield, the former CDC director, is speaking out for the first time, saying publicly where he believes the coronavirus that caused the pandemic came from. These extraordinary comments come in a new interview for a CNN documentary airing this weekend. Doctor Sanjay Gupta joins us now. And, Sanjay, Doctor Redfield says he’s giving his opinion, but I have to say, I think you’re about to break some pretty significant news here.

DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA: Yeah, I mean, this was extraordinary, John, for certain. He is the former CDC director — he’s spent his entire career as a virologist — I interviewed all six of these doctors sort of in the form of an autopsy to sort of meticulously dissect what had happened here — really no pre-agenda — and we sat down to talk. He wanted to start at the beginning, the origins of this virus, what he believes actually transpired. Take a listen.

(begin pre-recorded piece)

DOCTOR ROBERT REDFIELD, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: If I was to guess, I’d say this virus started transmitting somewhere in September, October in Wuhan.

GUPTA: September, October?

DOCTOR REDFIELD: That’s my own views. That’s only an opinion. I’m allowed to have opinions now. You know, I am of the point of view that I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was a — from a laboratory, you know, escaped. Other people don’t believe that — that’s fine. Science will eventually figure it out. It is not unusual for respiratory pathogens that are being worked on in a laboratory to infect a laboratory worker.

GUPTA: It is also not usual for that type of research to be occurring in Wuhan. The city is a widely known center for viral studies in China, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology, which has experimented extensively with bat coronaviruses. It is a remarkable conversation I feel like we’re having here because you are the former CDC director, and you were the director at the time this was all happening. For the first time, the former CDC director is stating publicly that he believes this pandemic started months earlier than we knew, and that it originated not in a wet market but inside a lab in China. These are two significant things to say, Doctor Redfield.

DOCTOR REDFIELD: That’s not implying any intentionality, you know. It’s my opinion, all right? But I am a virologist — I have spent my life in virology. I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human, and, at that moment in time, the virus came to the human — became one of the most infectious viruses that we know in humanity for human to human transmission. Normally, when a pathogen goes from an animal to human, it takes a while to figure out how to become more and more efficient in human to human transmission. I just don’t think this makes biological sense.

GUPTA: So, in the lab, do you think that that process of becoming more efficient is what happened? Is that what you’re suggesting?

DOCTOR REDFIELD: Yeah, let’s just say that I have coronavirus that I’m working on — most of us in a lab who are trying to grow a virus, we try to help make it grow better and better and better and better and better and better so we can do experiments and figure out about it. So that’s the way I’d put it together.

(in studio live)

GUPTA: It’s pretty extraordinary.

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