The New York TimesThe New York Times

What we know and don't know about the origins of Covid-19

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Benjamin Mueller

28 Feb 2023 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

New intelligence prompted the U.S. Energy Department to conclude with "low confidence" that a lab leak is the most likely cause of Covid-19. The NYT answers some key questions related to news.

WASHINGTON — The Energy Department’s conclusion, with “low confidence,” that an accidental laboratory leak in China most likely caused the coronavirus pandemic has renewed questions about what sparked the worst public health crisis in a century — and whether the virus at the heart of it was somehow connected to scientific research.

Scientists and spy agencies have tried assiduously to answer that question, but conclusive evidence is hard to come by. The nation’s intelligence agencies are split, and none of them changed their conclusions after seeing the Energy Department’s findings, officials said.

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