Poll: Where did COVID-19 come from?
Never closes
Non-Zoonotic origins
Transfer at a wet market
Transfer in the wild to a civilian
Transfer in the wild to a virus researcher
Accidental transfer in a lab with no modifications
Accidental transfer in a lab after research gain-of-function modifications
Planned deliberate release
Deliberate release by a rogue employee
COVID-19 does not exist / is a hoax / 5G / aliens

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Wait the ratio of votes between Accidental transfer after gain-of-function and accidental transfer with no modifications is BONKERS! I think the former is more likely, but I voted for the latter because I don't think it's THAT much less likely.

@benshindel As I understand it, the intent of polls like this is for people to vote on what they think is the most likely answer, not for people to try to make the distribution of answers have the same shape as the probability distribution.

People who voted in this poll might be intereted in following the debate between Peter Miller and Saar Wilf for the RootClaim Challenge:

I'm a dumbass, but the whole thing started with multiple cases near a wet market. I still think that makes it the most likely situation. Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.

@TiredCliche that wet market happens to be a 10 minute walk from the proposed lab leak location

@benshindel seems completely reasonable to me that the wet market frequented by employees of a biosafety lab would serve as the location for an initial outbreak though! Like, once someone accidentally contracted the virus in lab, the wet market could have been the first location for community spread.

@benshindel wait, what wet market are you talking about? I thought the epicenter was supposed to be the Huanan Seafood Market?

@TiredCliche This is one of those cases where thinking like a dumbass gets you the right answer. Lab leak is a total midwit trap:

@PeterMillerc030 I think you could literally just invert this meme and it would make more sense.

@benshindel That's probably because your IQ is around 100.

@TiredCliche honestly don't feel like doing intense internet archival stuff right now, and can't find the articles / blog posts that really delved into this, but I did find this article from April 2020 (!) that shows that the Wuhan CDC office was a few hundred meters away: https://www.businessinsider.com/theory-coronavirus-accidentally-leaked-chinese-lab-2020-4

But also, the article mentions that it had likely been circulating in Wuhan before spreading at the market, so may not be relevant.

@TiredCliche in any case, a lot of thoughts have been thought and writings been written on this subject, and I don't think that nearly anyone thinks the lab leak would be attributed to "malice". Basically all the lab-leak proponents do attribute it to "stupidity", so the maxim still holds. Lab-leak appears to be the consensus viewpoint of the US government, Nate Silver, and other equivalently trustworthy entities, so I don't think it's exactly a fringe conspiracy theory.

@benshindel And yet that's not the lab that the theories blame. And midwits don't even bother to fact check it:

Lab leak is also not a majority opinion for the US intelligence community:


Midwits do subscribe to Nate Silver. I tried to bet money against him that it's not a lab leak, but he wouldn't take me up on it.

Rootclaim did at least take my bet. But Saar has 100 million dollars, so that was 0.1% of his money.

@PeterMillerc030 Please be civil (:

@benshindel Yeah, but that's a CDC office, which doesn't have the ability to do GOF research. If it spread from the CDC office to the wet market after starting at the Wuhan Virology lab where they did do GOF research, then that means someone brought it to the CDC office before it started to spread, which indicates prior knowledge, so it wasn't accidental. If it accidentally leaked from the lab everyone proposes it leaked from, it's weird that the epicenter of cases started at a wet market that was 10 miles away. I mean, it is of course possible that a Wuhan Virology scientist just really loved that seafood market and drove over there every day to get some clams and cough on people, and otherwise barely interacted with people in or around their workplace.

That just seems too complicated for me, and my priors are with "the first infection likely happened where the first big outbreak was." If the first infection didn't happen where the first big outbreak was, it seems more likely that the outbreak was intentional.

@TiredCliche Exactly. WIV worker made a virus, infected themself, crossed town to the one market in Wuhan selling the most wildlife and coughed on a raccoon dog and got it sick? That's possible, but it's not likely.

Also, the Wuhan CDC moved to that location on December 2nd, 2019, which is probably after the virus started (mid to late November)

I'm just a Joe Rogan level guy on this issue, but I believed in the lab leak in the first couple of months of the outbreak based upon 4chan level conspiracy theories, and thought nothing of it then or since.

It feels like this is a big issue over the years, and there's some things about fauci and bill gates though

I have no idea between transfer with no modifications, transfer after GoF, and any of transfer in wild!

@Joshua this is exactly what i wanted

@mattyb Oh nice, this is useful.