It's very unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a lab. The genetic information strongly suggests that the virus evolved naturally.
Is unintentional lab release a possibility? Yes, as the review commission has noted.
The last human case of smallpox was the result of a lab error in the UK. It is believed—though not proven—that a flu strain accidentally released in the former Soviet Union in the 1970s spread around the world.
But whether or not that was the case for SARS-CoV-2, lab security and safety need to be improved globally. Lab errors happen, and, as I noted 6 weeks ago, we should take action to reduce the risk of future errors.
Fewer labs should be working with dangerous pathogens or technologies that could create them, and fewer people should have access to these facilities. Each sensitive research investigation must clearly demonstrate why the potential benefits are greater than the risks.
Let's work together globally to make laboratories safer and reduce the risk of future health threats. Our fight should be against dangerous microbes, not each other.

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More from @DrTomFrieden

27 Mar
Covid Epi Weekly: An Epidemic of Vaccine Inequity

As predicted, a US 4th surge appears to be beginning, fueled by variants and reopening. Cases up 7%. Positivity inching up, to 4.7%. Because of vaccination, deaths won't increase substantially. We must solve vaccine inequity. 1/
Michigan hospitalizations are increasing rapidly esp. among 40-49 y.o. Middle and high school 30% increase in cases associated with outbreaks in tandem with increased community transmission. Fewer people staying home, similar to prepandemic levels. Harbinger of spring surges? 2/ Image
Important new data on the mental health harms of the pandemic in the US. Large increases in depression and anxiety, especially among young people and those with less education. Treatment hasn’t kept up. At least 12 million more Americans are struggling.3/
Read 23 tweets
24 Mar
Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic. Five facts about Covid vaccines:
The risks of infection are vastly higher than the risks of vaccination. Even healthy young people can become severely ill, die, or suffer long-term harm from Covid infection.
Covid vaccines prime your immune system to fight the virus, then disappear. They don't stay in your body.
Read 6 tweets
20 Mar
Covid Epi Weekly. Progress and Peril.

Vaccinations have already saved 40,000+ lives in the US and the pace keeps increasing. But explosive spread of variants in Brazil and lower interest in vaccination are ominous portents.

A 4th surge is likely, but a less deadly one. 1/thread
First, the epi. Cases have stopped decreasing in many places and are increasing in some. Vaccinations are preventing deaths. Cases (~50,000/d) and test positivity plateauing nationally, with a concerning trend of PCR test positivity increasing slightly to 4.3% last week. 2/
The faster decline in deaths is striking and undoubtedly from vaccination. Look how steep the red line is below. Because vaccination rates in people over 65, especially those in nursing homes, are so high, the lethality of the virus is, as a result of vaccination, decreasing. 3/
Read 20 tweets
13 Mar
Covid Epi Weekly: It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over

100 million Covid infections in the US
100 million vaccine doses administered

In the race of vaccination vs. variants, we're gaining on the virus. But nobody should declare victory in the third quarter. Safer doesn't mean safe.
@CDCgov weekly summary and website:
-11% case decrease this week
-Positivity down 11%, to an encouragingly low 4.1%
-Vaccination up to 2.2M/day, 8% increase
-100 million people vaccinated
-Deaths down 19% - faster decrease from vaccination saving lives
But better doesn’t mean good. Rates still very high:
>50,000 cases/day
Nearly 5,000 hospitalizations last week
>1,400 deaths/day
Variants spreading, possibly more than half of NYC cases

It’s a race: vaccination vs. variants. Who wins will determine whether there’s a 4th surge.3/
Read 16 tweets
6 Mar
Covid Epi Weekly: Keep your mask and guard up!

Are we near the new normal? By May we'll be much safer—but we're not there yet. Vaccine rollout gaining momentum, saving lives. Cases trending down. But transmission still high and variants could derail progress. Hang in there! 1/16
HUGE thank you to Covid Tracking Project, winding down this week. Last weekly metrics below – still not completely replicable @CDCGov but getting there. Blip last week seems to have been mostly weather-related, with cases trending down, but we’re not out of the woods. 2/
For bookmarking (I did): Where to find and how to use Covid data. Thanks to all who worked on the Covid Tracking Project. Hope we never need something like this again – that the Federal government never again abdicates its fundamental responsibility. 3/
Read 17 tweets
27 Feb
Covid Epi Weekly: The End is Near! But Not for the World.

Steady good news in the US: Decreasing cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, and increasing vaccination pace.

Serious risks: Variants, vaccine inequity, and failure to learn the lessons of Covid.

The good news first. US cases decreased 75% from the peak, with hospitalizations and deaths following. Vaccination (after a weather-related disruption) is increasing, and much more supply is on the way. In June, anyone in US over 16 who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. 2/
Vaccinations are already saving lives! Progress in nursing homes; expect larger reductions of nursing home deaths in the coming weeks as vaccine-induced immunity kicks in. As predicted, the risk of death from Covid among all those infected will fall by at least two thirds. 3/
Read 21 tweets

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