Almost as soon as word of a new coronavirus outbreak that first infected people in China reached the internet, conspiracy theories about its origin spread quickly. Some have claimed it was created in a lab, and intentionally released into the world.
WGBH's Emily Rooney told Boston Public Radio on Friday she thought it was interesting that the media "poo-pooed" any theory about the laboratory origins of the illness, especially in light of a reported column in The Washington Post that seems to pinpoint the outbreak to a lab in Wuhan, China studying coronaviruses in bats. The truth about the outbreak, according to the article, is much less dramatic than conspiracy theorists would like to believe: COVID-19 wasn't released on purpose, but rather as the result of shoddy safety procedures and oversight at the lab.
"It's possible that some sloppy work released some of this virus into the atmosphere, one or more of the scientists got it, and started the spread," said Rooney. "It's not like they were developing it like chemical warfare, but it's possible this is what happened."