Before 1 January 2022, will the US Intelligence Community publicly state that a laboratory accident is a more probable scenario for the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic than it having emerged naturally through contact with infected animals?
Debate on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic has regained salience (BBC, Science Magazine, Nature, BBC). On 27 May 2021, the ODNI issued a press release stating that the U.S. Intelligence Community had “coalesced around two likely scenarios: either it emerged naturally from human contact with infected animals or it was a laboratory accident. While two elements of the IC lean toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter -- each with low or moderate confidence -- the majority of elements within the IC do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other” (Office of the Director of National Intelligence). President Biden has asked for further reporting on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic (Whitehouse.gov, NY Times, BBC). For further information on US intelligence community terminology on probabilities and confidence, see Intelligence Community Directive 203 (Federation of American Scientists).