During his last day in office, outgoing National Institute of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said in an interview with Fox News that the lab leak theory regarding the pandemic is a "distraction."
"I'm really sorry that the lab leak has become such a distraction for so many people because frankly, we still don't know," he told "Fox News Sunday" host Bret Baier.
"There is no evidence really to say. Most of the scientific community, myself included, think that is a possibility, but far more likely, this was a natural way in which a virus left a bat, maybe traveled through some other species and got to humans, and there was no lab leak involved," Collins, who has been in his position since 2009, said.
"We won't know unless China decides to open up on this which they have not done, and shame on them for that," Collins said, adding once again that it has been "a huge distraction" for the scientific community.
"We in this country have somehow gotten all fractured into a hyperpolarized politicized view that never should have been mixed with public health," Collins said. "It has been ruinous and history will judge harshly those people who have continued to defocus the effort and focus on conspiracies and things that are demonstrably false. Shame on all us that we've gotten into this kind of pickle."
In an interview with Fox News shortly after it was reported, Collins stated that he did not believe that the virus was a "bioweapon," but conceded that he did not "reject" the theory that the virus accidentally was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, also noting that there was not evidence to back it up.
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