China Pays the Price for Its “Criminal Negligence”

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China Pays the Price for Its “Criminal Negligence”

As of this writing, we know that the first case of COVID-19 appeared in China’s Hubei province on Nov. 17, 2019.  By at least mid-December, Chinese officials knew that the virus was capable of human-to-human transmission because doctors and nurses were getting sick. But instead of alerting the world, they tried to cover it up and punished doctors who tried to sound the alarm.  Furthermore, on Jan. 14, 2020, the World Health Organization tweeted that “Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission” and on Jan. 15, the head of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention declared on state television that “the risk of human-to-human transmission is low.” Today, we know those were lies, and that Beijing knew they were lies at the time. In fact, documentation shows that, by January 15, more than 1,700 Chinese medical workers had been infected.

Through these lies and by refusing to share samples, it’s now clear that China intentionally hampered U.S. efforts to prepare for the virus’s arrival on our shores. As a result, U.S. officials became so frustrated that they tried a back-channel — asking the director of the biocontainment lab at the University of Texas, which had a research partnership with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, to see whether he could get samples. The Washington Post reports that “At first, the lab in Wuhan agreed, but officials in Beijing intervened on Jan. 24 and blocked any lab-to-lab transfer.” That intervention came one day after Beijing finally imposed a belated lockdown on Wuhan — which means even after Chinese officials finally publicly acknowledged they were battling a pandemic they were still obstructing the U.S. response.

Notably, it took Beijing more than two months after the first case appeared to impose that lockdown...

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