US energy department says COVID-19 is likely lab leak

The U.S. Energy Department has concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic was most likely caused by a laboratory leak, contradicting previous U.S. government and global assertions that it was a natural transmission to humans from an infected animal.

The Wall Street Journal revealed the information, saying it was updated and classified 2021 U.S. energy department study, which was provided to the White House and key members of Congress.

The New York Times said the report spoke of the leak from the Chinese lab, but noted that it was not part of a weapons program as conspiracy theories speculated.

The news drew angry reactions on the social media, where Washington’s top virologist Anthony Fauci came under scathing attacks for “lying” about the COVID-19 to the White House and Congress.

Fauci, America’s point man during the pandemic, had repeatedly asserted that the COVID-19 virus was not leaked from the Chinese lab in the city of Wuhan.

But on Monday, many _ including billionaire Elon Musk _ pointed fingers at Fauci, accusing him of having lied to the people and the government.

The Energy Department oversees a network of 17 U.S. laboratories, including areas of advanced biology.

Since the pandemic hit early in 2020, with the first case reported in China in late December 2019, rumors suggested that the deadly virus, which killed more than 7 million people worldwide so far, was man-made.

Some speculated that the virus aimed to reduce global population under a wider conspiracy hatched by the global elite to control the world’s population as a step towards a new world order.

Global fact-checkers, most prominent among them is the U.S.-based Lead Stories, repeatedly debunked the allegations.

“The shift by the Energy Department, which previously was undecided on how the virus emerged, is noted in an update to a 2021 document by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’s office,” the Guardian reported.

It said it followed a “finding reportedly issued with ‘moderate confidence’ by the FBI that the virus spread after leaking out of a Chinese laboratory.”

The energy department’s conclusion “would be significant, despite the fact that, as the report said, the agency made its updated judgment with ‘low confidence’.”

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