The virus escaped from a Chinese lab
At least this one has the advantage of being believable. It is true that the Chinese city of Wuhan, the initial core of the pandemic, also houses a virology facility where scientists have long been researching bat coronaviruses. Shi Zhengli, a well-known virologist who spent years collecting samples of bat dung in caves and served as the lead expert on the earlier SARS outbreak, was one of these researchers who was so worried about the possibility that she frantically checked lab records for days to see if anything had gone wrong. When genetic sequencing revealed that the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus did not match any of the viruses gathered and analyzed by her lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, she confesses heaving a “sigh of relief.”
However, conspiracy theorists have found it difficult to resist the delectable coincidence that China’s top institute researching bat coronaviruses is located in the same location as the COVID outbreak’s epicenter. The Epoch Times, an English-language news organization located in the United States with ties to the Falun Gong religious movement that has long been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party, was responsible for the polished hour-length documentary that served as the initial inspiration for the project (CCP). In all of its coverage, The Epoch Times insistence on referring to COVID as “the CCP virus.” The Washington Post, the Times (UK), and several other publications have published on the hypothesis as it has now entered the mainstream.
COVID was created as a biological weapon
A spicier variation is that COVID was purposefully manufactured by Chinese scientists as a bioweapon in addition to having escaped from a lab. Nearly three out of ten Americans, according to Pew Research, think that COVID-19 was unintentionally or purposely created in a lab (the former is more popular: specifically, 23 percent believe it was developed intentionally, with only 6 percent believing it was an accident).
On the US political right, the idea that the virus was somehow produced by the Chinese is particularly well-liked. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a Republican, expanded on claims that the Wuhan Institute of Virology “is related to Beijing’s clandestine bio-weapons program,” which were initially published in the Washington Examiner (a very conservative media organization).
Genetic sequencing has provided conclusive scientific proof that the SARS-CoV-2 virus originated in bats and is a zoonotic virus, which makes this notion easily refutable. Since then, The Examiner has posted a correction at the top of the original article acknowledging that the report is likely incorrect.