A preview of a long-format interview with Dr. Fauci has been released by CBS, in which he still tries to avoid stating the origins of the COVID 19 virus. Fauci advances the possibility that the virus could have originated in a wet market, a theory rejected even by Chinese authorities.
The full interview, conducted by Margaret Brennan is slated to be released on Sunday on Face the Nation. The relevant excerpt follows immediately below:
Brennan leads with "But, we don't know what went between the bat and the human. There was something in between?"
"It was very likely in a host. What the Chinese did, I don't have first-hand knowledge of that, but the people who were reporting, who investigated, what they did is they cleaned out the markets as soon as it turned out that it was clear that there were clusters coming from the market."
"Which, in typical fashion, I think, trying to make sure that things don't get pointed to them, they probably got rid of the animals that were the intermediary hosts there. And that's the reason why it's very important to continue to get the cooperation of the Chinese in allowing surveillance of the animals that ultimately go into the wet markets, the civet cats, the racoon dogs and all those other things."
"Clearly, this virus is a very promiscuous virus in the sense that in can infect animals, animals can infect humans," continues Fauci.
Brennan interjects, "But Beijing acknowledges now that they don't think it originated in that market," to which Fauci comments:
"Well, it may not have originated in the market, but it certainly could have. I don't think that they admitted that it didn't originated in the market. I think they are saying they don't know how or where it originated."
The Chinese government has offered various dubious alternative theories on the origins of the virus throughout the history of the pandemic, but most experts now adhere to the theory that the virus originated in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, located just 230 meters from the nearest wet market.
"There were clusters that may have been picked up and transmitted, as I understand it, through the market, but the place of origin was not within the market itself," mentioned Brennan. Fauci disagreed, stating:
"No, I don't think you can say that. I don't think you can say that. I think you could say we don't know how and where it originated. There are wet markets in Wuhan that are ample opportunity for a virus to jump from an animal that gets brought in from all parts of China, that are closely related physically to bat enclaves in caves, and come to the market."
"So, I don't think anyone can say that it didn't come from here or it did come from here."