KEY POINTS

  • 31% of Americans said they believe the virus evolved naturally
  • Half of the voters believe coronavirus has permanently changed the way Americans live
  • Among those who said the virus originated from a Chinese lab, 79% were Republicans

A majority of Americans believe that COVID-19 was created and leaked by a lab in China, a new survey showed. 

In the poll conducted by Fox News, it was found that at least 60% of Americans believe the virus was created by Chinese scientists and leaked from their laboratory. In comparison, only 31% said they believe SARS-COV-2 evolved naturally and was later spread to humans at a Chinese market. 

Among those who said the virus originated from a Chinese lab, 79% were Republicans, 58% were independents and 41% were Democrats. 

Half of the voters said that the COVID-19 pandemic permanently changed their way of life, while 42% said the changes that happened during the pandemic are only temporary. 

The poll came after Jesse Bloom, a principal researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, published a paper on the bioRxiv server where he showed a deleted data set he recovered from the NIH’s Sequence Read Archive (SRA). In the preprint paper, he cited that the deleted data set contained COVID-19 sequences from the early days of the outbreak in Wuhan. This adds more fuel to the COVID-19 origin debate.

In a series of tweets, Bloom argued that samples used in most studies, including those done by the World Health Organization, were not “fully representative” of the viruses in Wuhan early in the outbreak.  

In a later statement, the National Institutes of Health confirmed that it had deleted the sequence at China’s request. The NIH also said that China indicated it was submitting the sequence to another database. The requestor did not specify where the sequence would be posted. 

Chinese researchers initially submitted the sequence to the NIH’s SRA in March 2020. They also published information about the sequence in a paper on a preprint server, according to the Wall Street Journal

“These SARS-CoV-2 sequences were submitted for posting in SRA in March 2020 and subsequently requested to be withdrawn by the submitting investigator in June 2020. The requestor indicated the sequence information had been updated, was being submitted to another database, and wanted the data removed from SRA to avoid version control issues,” the NIH said, according to The Hill

Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie (C) wears a “Save Our Sun” facemask at a gathering with other journalists gathering March 11 outside the headquarters of the newspaper which has a tentative deal to be acquired by a nonprofit organization Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie (C) wears a “Save Our Sun” facemask at a gathering with other journalists gathering March 11 outside the headquarters of the newspaper which has a tentative deal to be acquired by a nonprofit organization Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON