New details emerge on origins of COVID-19

Dr. Ashish Jha and ABC News contributor Tom Bossert break down the latest reporting on how COVID-19 began and the state of the pandemic today.
7:04 | 06/13/21

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Transcript for New details emerge on origins of COVID-19
There is no international process. We're investigating the origins of the pandemic, but there are two major hypotheses. The other is the accidental lab incident. President trump weaponized this subject and made the very questioning of the origins of the virus radioactive for a lot of people. There was so little space even for Democrats, even for Progressives to ask the questions. A preview there of a "Nightline" special airing this week with new reporting on the origins of covid-19. Let's talk about that and more with ABC news contributor Tom Bossert who served as homeland security adviser to president trump, and Dr. Ashish jha, Dean of the brown university school of public health. Welcome to you both this morning, and Tom, I want to start with you. Why was the laboratory theory seem. I dismissed to quick by scientists? A report conducted by scientists and researchers and they abandoned the notion that it could have been intentionally or unintentionally released from this lab. No other reason for it, but they thought it was least likely an What does it take to know for sure where it came from? Was it naturally occurring from animals and then spreading naturally? Was it naturally occurring zoonotic and then accidentally released or were they tinkering with it? For scientific purposes, be you in a controversial way, and this gain of function research, and they let it out. The biggest and fastest way to find this, would be to find the animal reservoir. We found a cat, the animal that was the most, you know, closely related to link before it jumped to student like the sars outbreak. We don't have that right now, but it might have been a gain of function accident. We don't know yet. How important is it to the medical community to know the origins of this pandemic? So Martha, I think it's pretty important. This has been a horrendous pandemic, and we need to understand where it came from for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is it will be very helpful for preventing the if it is indeed from a lab, we have to think about lab safety at a very, very different level. If it's zoonotic, we have to put in different policies. I think it remains completely important that we figure this out. In terms of lessons learned, How important is it to the medical community to know the origins of this pandemic? It remains important. In terms of lessons learned, where we are right now, what have we really learned? Well, we've learned a lot about this pandemic and how to prevent it. We have learned that vaccines can be developed quickly if the scientific community puts its mind to it and there are still deep inequities in terms of how the pandemic plays out. Right now America is in great shape. That's terrific, and many, many parts of the world are struggling. If we're going to get out of the pandemic, we have to have global Tom, to his point, I know president Biden said the U.S. Will buy 500 million pfizer vaccines for global distribution, but that is really a fraction of the 11 billion doses. Yep. That are needed and while cases in the U.S. Are indeed falling, there have been more covid-related deaths worldwide in 2021 so far than in all of 2020. So how bad is this going to get worldwide, and what does it mean for us? The head of the world health organization called this a two-track pandemic and that caught my eye. He's saying for wealthy countries that can afford it, they'll have a return to normal and for those who can't, they're going to have a slow loss of life and death. It's going to slow return to life, return to trade. The loss of life that could lay in front of us, and a tragic loss of life is the fact that we could have a variant that's resistant to the vaccine and start this all over again. We have some variants. The delta variant first discovered in India now makes up to 90% of new coronavirus cases in Britain, and 16% of cases in the U.S. How significant a threat does that pose to unvaccinated people and also vaccinated? Yeah. So the delta variant is by far the most contagious variant we have seen so far in the entire pandemic. The reason it makes up 90% of the uk is because it has outcompeted every other part, but if you remain vaccinated, you remain protected. If more than a third of adults have not, and a lot of younger kids have not been vaccinated, it's a threat to them. And Tom, there are many, many people out there who have not been vaccinated. Do you believe those people goes on, and people who haven't will? I don't know if they will, but they should. In this country, I think the doctor is right. We'll see a third wave. It won't be as bad or have as high of a mortality rate tied to it, but these aren't evenly distributed numbers. I think five states, Tennessee and others are below 50%, at or below 50%, and so in those areas I would imagine, in fact, I would project here that this delta variant and some of what we just saw, South America will take root and we'll have another spike in those regions. It's not over if you if you are not vaccinated and for me, I see 42% vaccinated fully, and most people I go, 1 hundred% of the people not wearing masks. I don't know how to convince them. Just finally, and we have a couple of seconds here. What about boosters? Some people have been vaccinated for about five months now. When will those start being distributed, and is there a plan for that? Yeah, I'm not thinking about boosters right now. These vaccines look so incredibly good, and so durable that I don't think most Americans are going to need a booster this year. They might at come point next year, and I know we've heard from the companies that people might need a booster within the year. We have to pay attention to the data. If there were more break will you -- breakthrough infections, then maybe. I expect boosters in 2022 and maybe even beyond. We'll end on that good note. Thanks very much to both of you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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