The Chinese Lab Theory


Everyone wants to know where the coronavirus came from. In the absence of a clear explanation, several theories are circulating — including one, pushed by the Trump administration, that the pandemic started because of malpractice in a lab in Wuhan, China. But is that a secret the Chinese government is keeping, or a mystery no one knows the answer to? Guest: Julian E. Barnes, who covers national security for The New York Times. For more information on today’s episode, visit

Background reading:

  • Leaders in the intelligence community have said there is no indication the virus is man-made, but have yet to reach a conclusion on its origins. While many scientists say the virus most likely made the leap from an animal to a human in southern China, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump continue to link the outbreak to a government lab.
  • Some national security analysts are worried that pressure from senior Trump administration officials could distort assessments about the origin of the coronavirus and be used as a weapon in an escalating battle with China.

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