Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic
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In an exclusive interview, the face of America’s COVID-19 response cautions against the rush for states to reopen, and offers his tips for handling the pandemic's information deluge.

Fauci: No scientific evidence the coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab

Anthony Fauci has been the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for almost 40 years, where he has tackled dozens of outbreaks, including HIV/AIDS. To him, the coronavirus is "extraordinary."

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Anthony “Tony” Fauci has become the scientific face of America’s COVID-19 response, and he says the best evidence shows the virus behind the pandemic was not made in a lab in China.

Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, shot down the discussion that has been raging among politicians and pundits, calling it “a circular argument” in a conversation Monday with National Geographic.

“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what's out there now, [the scientific evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated … Everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that [this virus] evolved in nature and then jumped species,” Fauci says. Based on the scientific evidence, he also doesn’t entertain an alternate theory—that someone found the coronavirus in the wild, brought it to a lab, and then it accidentally escaped.

Fauci is most concerned that the United States will be put to the test this fall and winter by a second wave of COVID-19 if the country does not blunt the infection rate by the summer.

“Shame on us if we don't have enough tests by the time this so-called return might occur in the fall and winter,” he says, advising that the U.S. needs to make sure we not only have an adequate supply of tests available before a second wave hits, but also a system for getting those tests to the people who most...

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