Epistemic status: pure speculation, want to hear what more informed people think

In public discussions of COVID origins, I observe an apparent implicit assumptions that the two leading theories - lab leak and Wuhan market origin - are incompatible, and evidence for one is automatically evidence against another.

It feels to me that there is a plausible theory for both being true - the virus was created studied in a lab, some animals were infected as part of that research, and then some low-paid employee was responsible for properly disposing of the animals, but lacking full understanding of the dangers and needing quick cash, they sold the animals to be then resold on the market. I am originally from Russia, and the level of corruption and cinicism there is such, that this would definitely be a very plausible scenario there. Is China sufficiently better than that? Am I missing some reason for why this is not among the spectrum of theories being considered?

In my mind this reconciles a lot of circumstantial evidence - avoids the need to believe that the fact that Wuhan lab was studying related topics is a pure coincidence, and also compatible with all the evidence of early cases near the market and traces of COVID in the market...

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"Lab leak" doesn't necessarily imply "created in a lab".

The "leak" theory as I've understood it is still about a naturally occurring virus - with samples being collected from wild animals and studied at a lab, before it escaped again.

The "leak" theory also includes the possibility that gain-of-function research was being conducted on the virus that escaped. I believe it is known that gain-of-function research was being conducted there.

"Lab leak" doesn't necessarily imply "created in a lab".

Right, I was sloppy, replaced "created" with "studied"

I am also from Russia and also visited China animal markets so I have come to the same conclusion. 

But it seems that lab animals are not the same that are typically sold on animal markets: mice and rats.

The lab is known to have been studying bats - weren't those sold on the market too?

Not that I know of. People talk about raccoon dogs as a candidate for market spillover, not bats

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