“I’m worried that the rhetoric on both sides is very divorced from the reality. That distracts all of us from what we need to be doing, which is mounting a coordinated global fight against this virus.

“The reality is that the intelligence community has been very clear that there is no evidence that this was man made; they have concurred with the scientific assessments. There is also no direct evidence that this was a naturally occurring pathogen being studied in a lab that escaped. Experts who have looked at this—scientific and intelligence experts—cannot completely rule that out, but there’s no evidence of that, contrary to what Secretary Pompeo is saying.

“The fact of the matter is scientists and others agree that the most likely scenario and what the evidence supports right now is that this is what’s called a zoonotic disease. It came from an animal, most likely a bat, and made a jump to human. This is not surprising, given that our own intelligence community has been warning about the danger of emerging infectious diseases and the potential for global pandemic for many, many years.

“So we really need to be focusing not on the rhetoric and getting into an escalatory world war, but focusing on the reality…”

Watch the full interivew here: