The title above is that of a detailed report by the eminent science writer Nicholas Wade. In it he discusses the the possible scenarios for how the COVID-19 epidemic originated. No one else has examined all the evidence concerning the appearance of this virus with as much rigor and thoroughness as has Wade. His list of the evidence in favor of a zoonotic infection versus an altered virus which escaped from the Wuhan Laboratory of Virology makes compelling reading. Anyone interested in how this virus was loosed on the world as well as how the story was spun will find the account riveting. Wade’s conclusion is summarized below. But the entire piece must be read to understand the question he asks as well as the provisional view he favors.
Neither the natural emergence nor the lab escape hypothesis can yet be ruled out. There is still no direct evidence for either. So no definitive conclusion can be reached. That said, the available evidence leans more strongly in one direction than the other. Readers will form their own opinion. But it seems to me that proponents of lab escape can explain all the available facts about SARS2 considerably more easily than can those who favor natural emergence.