The former director of the Centers for Disease Control received death threats from fellow scientists after he said during a TV interview that he believed COVID-19 originated in a lab, according to an interview released Thursday.
Robert Redfield, who served as the CDC director under Donald Trump when the pandemic began, told CNN on March 26 that he thought the most likely 'etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory - you know, escaped.'
He said he wasn't insinuating that there was ill intent, but that was his opinion.
After that 10-second sound bite, he told Vanity Fair he was 'threatened and ostracized because I proposed another hypothesis.' At the time, the Wuhan lab leak was widely considered a 'fringe theory' at best, in favor of transmission from an animal to a human.
The Vanity Fair article said 'death threats flooded his inbox' from strangers who said he was being racist to prominent scientists, even some he considered friends. One told him to 'wither and die,' Vanity Fair reported.
'I expected it from politicians. I didn't expect it from science,' Redfield said.