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Jon Stewart: Coronavirus ‘more than likely caused by science’

Jon Stewart is shooting down theories that COVID-19 could be anything but lab-created, saying the pandemic was “more than likely caused by science.”

“There’s a novel respiratory coronavirus overtaking Wuhan, China,” Stewart said during a Monday appearance on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert.

“Oh, you know who we could ask? The Wuhan novel respiratory coronavirus lab,” he exclaimed to his former “Daily Show” colleague. “The disease is the same name as the lab! That’s just a little too weird, don’t you think?” Stewart added, referring to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Colbert, in his first show before a studio audience in more than a year, appeared to push back on Stewart’s take on where the disease originated, saying, “There’s a chance this was created in a lab. There’s an investigation. If there was evidence I would love to hear it, I just don’t know.”

“So wait a minute, you work at the Wuhan respiratory coronavirus lab,” Stewart retorted. “And they’re like, a turtle kissed a penguin?”

“Maybe a bat flew into the cloaca of a turkey, and then it sneezed into my chili, and now we all have coronavirus,” Stewart, 58, continued.

“Oh my God, there’s been an outbreak of chocolatey goodness near Hershey, Pa. What do you think happened?” he added in a mocking tone. “Oh I don’t know, maybe a steam shovel mated with a cocoa bean? Or it’s the f—ing chocolate factory! Maybe that’s it.”

“That could very well be. And Anthony Fauci and [National Institutes of Health Director] Francis Collins said it should definitely be investigated,” Colbert said.

“Oh stop with the logic, and people, and things. The name of the disease is on the building,” Stewart replied.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last month that he supported an open investigation of the coronavirus origins, after stating he was “not convinced” it developed naturally outside the Wuhan lab.

While many researchers suspect the illness originated in a bat in the wild, calls for investigations into the origin of the illness have grown in recent months.

During their recent summit, leaders from the Group of Seven called for a “timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based [World Health Organization]-convened Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.”

“It could be possible they have the lab in Wuhan to study the novel coronavirus diseases because in Wuhan there are a lot of coronavirus diseases because of the bat population there,” Colbert told Stewart.

“It’s a local specialty and it’s the only place to find bats,” Stewart quipped of the Chinese city. “You won’t find bats anywhere else. Oh wait, Austin, Texas, has thousands of them that fly out of a cave every night.”

“Is there a coronavirus, an Austin coronavirus? No, there doesn’t seem to be an Austin coronavirus. The only lab is in Wuhan,” said Stewart.

“And how long have you worked for Sen. Ron Johnson?” Colbert said to laughs regarding the Wisconsin Republican, who said last week that “evidence about a potential lab leak theory has been hiding in plain sight for months.”

Johnson responded on Twitter, saying he enjoyed the back-and-forth between Stewart and Colbert on the topic. 

“I think we owe a great debt of gratitude to science,” Stewart said during his “Late Show” sit-down. “Science has in many ways helped ease the suffering of this pandemic — which was more than likely caused by science.”

“This is the problem with science,” Stewart said. “Science is incredible, but they don’t know when to stop.”

—Updated at 2:44 p.m.

Tags Anthony Fauci China Coronavirus coronavirus origins Investigations into the origin of COVID-19 Jon Stewart lab theory Ron Johnson Stephen Colbert Wuhan Wuhan lab
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