Headline RoundupMarch 1st, 2023

How Significant is the Energy Dept's New COVID-19 Origin Stance?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

The Energy Department (DOE) thinks COVID-19 "most likely" leaked from a Chinese lab. How does that change the COVID-19 origin debate?

The DOE's Role: The DOE has an Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and also oversees 17 labs, some of which conduct biological research. Its "low confidence" assessment (as opposed to "medium," like the FBI's) that COVID-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is based on new, classified intel.

It's Not a Big Deal: Left-rated media covered the news less than right-rated outlets. Many focused on the lack of consensus or other intel groups' support for the animal-to-human origin theory. That's the "prevailing theory," according to one MSNBC writer, who suggested that any new evidence "will be weaponized as virulent misinformation instead." 

It's a Big Deal: Right-rated outlets prominently covered the story. One National Review (Right bias) writer highlighted mismanagement of U.S.-funded gain of function research at WIV, and the possibility that the U.S. helped spur the pandemic. A Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) writer called out some journalist's prior efforts "to suppress the story." The Wall Street Journal's Editorial Board said the world deserves transparency on what the "evidence says about [COVID-19's] origin."

It's an Unwinnable Fight: A Center-rated USA TODAY (Lean Left bias) writer criticized the infighting, arguing that we'll never truly know the origins and calling for media and government "to pay attention to the real threat in regards to future pandemics."

Featured Coverage of this Story

More headline roundups

AllSides Picks

More News about Coronavirus from the Left, Center and Right

From the Left

From the Center

From the Right