COVID lab leak theory from the Energy Department, explained – USA TODAY

The Energy Department has now concluded with “low confidence” that the COVID-19 pandemic most likely began after an unintentional laboratory leak in China, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited a classified intelligence report provided to the White House and members of Congress.
There are two competing theories about what started the COVID-19 pandemic in China: that the virus jumped from animals to humans at a market, and that it was accidentally leaked from a lab where researchers were studying coronaviruses. Neither has had enough evidence so far to be conclusive.
The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both reported that the Energy Department, citing new intelligence, changed its stance on the origins of the pandemic but the conclusion was relatively weak. USA TODAY could not independently confirm the reports. 
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Here’s what we know:
The first is that, like many other known infections, the virus that causes COVID jumped from animals to people, likely at a market in Wuhan, China, that sells live animals. 
Support for this comes from the natural history of viruses and a path traced using the genetics of the virus taken from people who were sick early in the initial outbreak.
The second is that the virus was accidently released by researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a scientific lab a few miles from the wet market. In this scenario, researchers who were studying the SARS-CoV2 virus or one similar to it, accidently infected themselves, passing it on to others.
Support for this comes from the fact that researchers at the lab were known to be studying coronaviruses in the same family as SARS-CoV-2 and lab accidents have occurred in the past.
The Chinese government cleaned up the wet market, destroying evidence before others had a chance to examine it, and seems not to have released information on those who were sick earliest, fueling speculation they have something to hide. 
A number of scientists have come out strongly in favor of the natural origin theory, particularly early in the outbreak, while others have since called for more information before drawing a conclusion.
From 2021:The real issue with the COVID-19 lab leak theory? The US isn’t spying on China like it used to
National security adviser Jake Sullivan declined to confirm or deny the news of the Energy Department report to media outlets.
Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that President Biden has requested the Department of Energy’s national labs to be “brought into this assessment,” because he “wants to put every tool at use to be able to figure out what happened here.”
“Right now, there is not a definitive answer that has emerged from the intelligence community,” he told CNN on Sunday’s “State of the Union.” 
“There is a variety of views in the intelligence community,” he said. “Some elements of the intelligence community have reached conclusions on one side, some on the other. A number of them have said they just don’t have enough information to be sure.”
The FBI is the only other federal agency to publicly conclude the pandemic began at a lab in Wuhan, a position it made with “moderate confidence” in 2021. Four other federal agencies have concluded the pandemic began from natural transmission, and two agencies are undecided.
Latest news: House Oversight subcommittee to investigate COVID origins and Wuhan lab funding
Former surgeon general:We’ll never know the full truth about COVID-19 origins. Political infighting won’t help.
From 2021: WHO will end research into ‘extremely unlikely’ theory that COVID originated in Wuhan lab
New report: There are at least 500 coronaviruses. We must develop next-gen vaccines now, experts say
Opinion:Could an accident have caused COVID? Why the Wuhan lab-leak theory shouldn’t be dismissed