COVID-19, research, CRISPR
Photo credit: U.S. Department of Energy / Flickr

While the intelligence community remains torn on the issue, Americans feel strongly that the COVID-19 pandemic began in a Chinese lab.

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Scientists and the US intelligence community remain split on whether the virus that triggered the COVID-19 pandemic developed naturally or came from a lab. For example, a recently declassified intelligence report said that both theories remain plausible. The American people are feeling a lot less ambivalent, according to a new poll. A solid majority of them believes that the virus originated in a Chinese lab.

Nearly one-third of respondents thought it was “definitely true” that the virus came from a lab while another 29 percent felt it was “probably true,” the poll, which was conducted by The Economist and YouGov, found.

That viewpoint was especially prevalent among voters of former President Donald Trump. A whopping 87 percent of them believe that the virus definitively or probably came from a lab.

But even Democrats are more likely to think that the “lab leak theory” is true than not. Only a quarter of them are of the opinion that it is false as opposed to 44 percent who believe it is true.

Perhaps the most striking finding of the poll is the low number of Americans who think that the lab leak theory is “definitively false.” Overall, only 5 percent of them feel that way as opposed to more than six times as many who think it is “definitively true.”

The poll also included several other interesting findings. For example, a quarter of Trump voters denied that there even was a COVID-19 pandemic. It doesn’t really make sense that 87 percent of them believe the pandemic started in a lab but 25 percent think it didn’t happen.

Republicans were more likely to say that they had tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 39 percent of them said they had personally tested positive as opposed to 31 percent of Democrats. That is probably not surprising as conservatives were more likely to resist lockdown and social distancing measures early on in the pandemic.

The poll also showed that about one-quarter of Americans have not been vaccinated at all. Predictably, that number is highest among Republicans, 32 percent of whom did not receive any COVID-19 shots. What stands out is that 30 percent of independents also said they had not been vaccinated.

Two-thirds of Americans have received two or more shots, and this is a figure that is consistent among all age groups and most demographics.

About the same number of poll respondents said that they believe that the pandemic is now over, while only about a quarter of Americans think it is ongoing. Once again, the starkest contrast is between voters for President Biden and former President Trump.

Nearly 40 percent of Biden voters expressed their belief that there is currently a COVID-19 pandemic. Only 9 percent of Trump voters shared that view.

Finally, 30 percent of Americans said they either had a family member or a close friend who experienced ongoing symptoms referred to as “long COVID.”


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