The emphasis on the so-called lab leak theory was something of a surprise given the surge of infections concentrated in rural, strongly Republican regions of the country.
Nationally, the average of new coronavirus infections has surged 171 percent in 14 days, to more than 41,300 a day on Wednesday, and deaths — a lagging number — are up 42 percent from two weeks ago, to nearly 250, according to a New York Times database. Still, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain at a fraction from their previous devastating peaks. Vaccines remain effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19 including from the Delta variant.
The Kaiser Family Foundation reported at the end of June that 86 percent of Democrats had at least one shot, compared with 52 percent of Republicans. An analysis by The Times in April found that the least vaccinated counties in the country had one thing in common: They voted for Mr. Trump.
But Dr. Murphy said the notion that conservatives are hesitant to receive the vaccine “is not only disingenuous; it’s a lie.”
As for the lab leak theory, one after another, Republicans framed the issue as virtually settled: Research at a virus laboratory in Wuhan, China, created the novel coronavirus through risky “gain of function” experiments, then leaked it into the world.
“Criminals have been convicted on less circumstantial evidence than currently exists, and every day more evidence has revealed,” Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa said.
Recently, some scientists have urged that the possibility of a lab leak be taken seriously, alongside the possibility that the coronavirus emerged naturally, most likely from an animal. But they are mostly looking at the possibility that a naturally evolved virus was present in the lab and escaped, not that the virus was created deliberately. Even some of the most vocal scientific supporters of a lab leak possibility do not claim that there is definitive evidence of the origin of the virus.
Rather than cover up the matter, President Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies in late May to investigate the origins of the coronavirus and to report back in 90 days.
Waiting For A Big SCOOP