Answer: Many scientists caution that it's unlikely a 90-day investigation will yield definitive new answers.
"We rarely get a 'smoking gun,'" said Stephen Morse, a disease researcher at Columbia University. "Even under the best of circumstances we rarely get certainty, just degrees of likelihood."
Any findings will likely be politically explosive, especially if new evidence comes to light supporting or dismissing the zoonotic transfer or lab-leak theory. And a failure to reach definitive conclusions, almost inevitable after a 90-day review, could provide grist for Trump supporters and opponents alike, as well as embolden conspiracy theorists.
Meanwhile experts like the Council on Foreign Relations' Huang suspect China may simply clamp down more, adding another complication to already tense relations. "This will likely make it even more challenging to extract concessions from China to allow another team to visit Wuhan, or have unfettered access to investigate there," he said.
Photo: A child wearing a mask rests along the Yangtze River on April 5, 2020, in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province just days before the lifting of the city’s 76-day coronavirus lockdown.