CSP/TIPP POLL: Nearly Half Say Coronavirus is Man-Made and 29% Say it was Intentionally Released

With nearly 900,000 deaths in the United States, the virus’ origin remains inconclusive.


In a CSP/TIPP Poll taken this month, 1,355 U.S. adults were asked, “From what you have seen or heard, the coronavirus MOST LIKELY…” The responses were:

  • Was developed in a lab (47%)
  • Came from animals (18%)
  • Came about naturally (10%)
  • Came from human living habits (7%)
  • Not sure (17%)

When the COVID-19 virus emerged in Wuhan, China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pointed the finger in all directions to avoid responsibility for the fallout. They have variously blamed the U.S. bio-military facilities at Ft. Detrick, supposedly infectious U.S. military personnel at the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, and have even accused Italy of being the birthplace of the virus. However, they generally support the findings of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) joint report that said “the virus jumping from bats to humans via an intermediate animal was the most probable scenario, while a leak from Wuhan’s virology labs was ‘extremely unlikely.’”

Western medical bureaucrats were apparently desperate to quash any talk of a lab leak as well, according to a Brownstone Institute review of a recent book on the early weeks of the virus by the “UK’s Fauci” Jeremy Farrar. Dr. Anthony Fauci himself, of the National Institute of Allergies and Infection Diseases (NIAID) took a hard line against the “lab leak” hypothesis from the beginning. In May 2020 he said he was “very, very strongly leaning toward this could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated” saying all signs indicated the virus “evolved in nature and then jumped species.” A year later in May 2021, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) confronted Fauci about the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through a cutout called EcoHealth Alliance, uncovering a possible motive to downplay any non-natural introduction of the virus to humans. Also in May, Facebook changed the policy under which it had banned users and removed posts for asserting that “COVID-19 is man-made or manufactured.” By June 3, 2021, Fauci finally admitted “it could have been a lab leak,” although he said animal-to-human transmission was most likely. The lab hypothesis reached a pop culture tipping point the same month when beloved comedian and former Daily Show host John Stewart openly advocated for it on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Conservatives (69%) were much more likely than moderates (47%) and liberals (28%) to believe the virus emerged from a lab. Strikingly, nearly one-third (30%) of liberals still believe that the virus came from animals. This seems to reflect a residue from the initial line from Anthony Fauci and the health and media establishment that the virus emerged from a bat or pangolin in a so-called “wet market.” Liberals may be more likely to believe “The Science” as first presented, even if the official line of Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has “evolved” over time. This may portend political trouble for governors and local government executives who are increasingly rolling back COVID restrictions like vaccination passports and masks, while their constituents have been scared into hiding by constant media reports that inflate the prevalence and severity of COVID infections.

The lab-leak theory became mainstream 9-10 months ago. If liberal attitudes on masks and vaccines lag by a similar amount of time, Democrat politicians may be in an impossible balancing act between their constituents on the left and the rest of the country which strongly disapproves of President Biden’s COVID strategies as the November 2022 midterm elections loom.

The 47% of Americans who believed the coronavirus was developed in a lab were asked whether they thought it was released intentionally or accidentally:

  • 61% said intentionally
  • 27% said accidentally
  • 12% said not sure

CLICK HERE TO VIEW CHART ON CORONAVIRUS RELEASE ACCICENT OR INTENTIONAL

It is striking that nearly two-thirds (61%) of those who believed in a lab leak also believed that it was intentional. That means that 29% of all those polled believed that the virus originated in a lab and that the CCP purposely released it. Plenty of evidence exists that China “weaponized” the spread of the virus after it left the lab. For example, while CCP locked down domestic air travel after the outbreak was detected, they encouraged international flights out of Wuhan which quickly infected cities around the world, making containment impossible. However, there is no proof that the initial passage of the virus from the Wuhan lab to the outside world was a conscious military strategy by the CCP.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW CHART ON ORIGIN OF CORONAVIRUS

Conservatives (66%) were most likely to suspect an intentional lab release with moderates (55%) and liberals (54%) about the same.

Women (65%) were significantly more likely than men (53%) to believe the intentional hypothesis.

Both blacks (66%) and Hispanics (72%) were more likely than average (61%) to think the coronavirus was leaked as an intentional act.

These Americans may perceive nefarious intent through circumstantial evidence alone. The monthly TIPP China Favorability index shows a steady decline from 35.9 in August 2021 to 27.0 in February 2022, which marks the lowest rating in 12 months and the first time the index has dipped below 30. It is natural to distrust a formidable rival on the world stage. The CCP leadership clearly wishes us ill and the American public expects them to act accordingly.

A secondary reason for attribution of malice may lie in human emotion and psychology. COVID-19 has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans and sickened millions more. It has also destroyed entire sectors of our economy, especially small businesses, and vaccine and mask mandates have disrupted daily life in unprecedented ways. Americans are discouraged, angry and depressed, and they need an outlet. It’s difficult to blame a virus as such, it is too nebulous. The human mind “wants” a sentient force to be responsible for so much pain and destruction.

COLUMN BY

Adam Savit

China Program Coordinator and Deputy Director for Congressional and Public Affairs.

EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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