by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The costs of the pandemic keep piling up. Hundreds of millions of Americans are on lockdown, a record 16.8 million have filed unemployment claims, nearly 15,000 Americans have died so far and the death toll is growing exponentially by the day. Congress has passed three coronavirus relief bills totaling $2.3 trillion, and more might soon be in the works.
Somebody has to pay for this unprecedented damage. That somebody should be the government of China.
No one can blame Beijing for a viral outbreak beyond its control. But the Chinese communist regime should be blamed — and held legally liable — for intentionally lying to the world about the danger of the virus, and proactively impeding a global response that might have prevented a worldwide contagion.
We now know that the first case of covid-19 appeared in China’s Hubei province on Nov. 17. By 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. On Jan. 14, the World Health Organization tweeted that “Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission.” 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.” These were lies, and Beijing knew it. More than 1,700 Chinese medical workers had been infected.
As China lied, it intentionally hampered U.S. efforts to prepare for the virus’s arrival on our shores by refusing to share samples with us. 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.
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