Headline RoundupMarch 18th, 2023

New Analysis Suggests Wuhan Raccoon Dogs As Possible Origin Of COVID-19

AllSides Summary

A new analysis by an international group of researchers found evidence that COVID-19 originated from infected animals sold at a market in Wuhan, China.

The Details: A French scientist uncovered genetic data uploaded by Chinese researchers to the global virology database GISAID. The data suggested raccoon dogs sold at the market could have been carrying the virus; it disappeared from the database shortly after appearing, but the findings were presented to the World Health Organization on Tuesday.

For Context: The findings come just weeks after the U.S. Department of Energy changed its stance on COVID-19's origins to believing it likely leaked from a lab in Wuhan, rather than originating through natural transmission. The change prompted widespread media coverage and debate. The new analysis, which hasn't yet been peer-reviewed, was first reported on by The Atlantic (Left bias). Several of the analysis’ authors reached similar conclusions in a February 2022 analysis that was first shared with The New York Times (Lean left).

How The Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum weighed the claim differently, but most agreed it doesn't prove anything for certain. Washington Examiner (Lean Right) elevated comments from a Rutgers University lab director who said the claim “should not be taken at face value” because the data cited “has not been made available for analysis.”

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