A leaked Congressional report allegedly found that China covered up the severity of the coronavirus outbreak there and, with the help of a ‘complicit’ World Health Organization (WHO), allowed COVID-19 to become a pandemic.
The report, leaked to the New York Post and set to be released later on Monday, says that the pandemic was ‘likely preventable.’
Echoing its sentiments, President Trump slammed China’s President Xi Jinping.
‘I say it every time I speak. And I’m angry at him [Xi] because they could have stopped this, they could have stopped it easily,’ Trump said on Fox & Friends on Monday.
Lawmakers claim that China went so far as to destroy evidence in order to downplay coronavirus, while in February clamping down on exports to US companies for companies, including 3M, which manufactures masks and personal protective equipment.
WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continued to praise China for its ‘transparency,’ even as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) suddenly added thousands of previously concealed cases to its total count in April, and suspicions arose around the globe.
‘The WHO has been complicit in the spread and normalization of CCP propaganda and disinformation,’ the House Foreign Affairs Committee auditors wrote.
‘Director-General Tedros should accept responsibility for his detrimental impact on the COVID-19 response and resign.’
China first warned the WHO of a possible new, emerging viral disease on January 3. At the time, it was simply a ‘viral pneumonia of unknown cause,’ in Wuhan.
The first cases of the unknown illness occurred in late 2019, and the virus was sequenced for the first time by a Chinese lab that suspected it might be highly infectious on January 1. The WHO announced that China had determined the illnesses there were caused by a wholly new virus on January 9.
This timeline has been the subject of much scrutiny in the US, and is central to the report’s claims that China’s secretive practices left the world vulnerable to COVID-19.
The report blames cover-ups for opening the floodgates for coronavirus to become a pandemic and says that actual transparency might have saved hundreds of thousands of lives around the world.
But it stops short of advising the US withdraw from the WHO amid the pandemic – as President Trump intends to do by July of next year.
A newly leaked Foreign Affairs Committee report claims Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party covered up data on the coronavirus outbreak and allowed a ‘likely preventable’ pandemic to follow
The report calls for the resignation of WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, slamming him for spreading Chinese ‘propaganda’ in the pandemic’s early days
When contacted for comment by DailyMail.com, the WHO said it had just received a copy of the report and ‘will review it carefully.’
In the 96-page report, the lawmakers expressed certainty that China intentionally kept information hidden, at the expense of more than 960,000 deaths around the world as of Monday.
‘It is beyond doubt that the CCP actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world,’ they committee members wrote.
‘Research shows the CCP could have reduced the number of cases in China by up to 95 percent had it fulfilled its obligations under international law and responded to the outbreak in a manner consistent with best practices.
‘It is highly likely the ongoing pandemic could have been prevented.’
President Trump slammed President Xi, saying he ‘could have stopped’ coronavirus from becoming a pandemic after the Foreign Affairs Committee report was leaked (file)
Although the Foreign Affairs Committee is Democrat-controlled, the report was authored by its Republican members, according to the Post, and the group’s ranking member is Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas.
‘It is crystal clear that had the CCP been transparent, and had the head of the WHO cared more about global health than appeasing the CCP, lives could have been spared and widespread economic devastation could have been mitigated,’ McCaul told the Post.
The report is new, but its central claims certainly are not.
For months, President Trump has accused China of being responsible for the pandemic for months. He claimed in May that he had seen evidence that coronavirus originated in the lab (despite reports to the contrary from his intelligence staff) and infamously dubbed SARS-CoV-2, ‘the China virus.’
After suffering more than 90,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 5,000 deaths, the coronavirus crisis has ebbed in China.
‘They stopped it from going back further into their own country. But they didn’t stop it from going out to the rest of the world, of which we’re part,’ Trump said during the Fox & Friends interview.
‘They didn’t stop it from coming here, in Europe, and all over the world – 188 countries to be exact. They didn’t stop it. Countries are devastated.’
The report’s claims rest on the timeline from the first illnesses in China, to its eventual choice to alert the WHO to the outbreak.
It also notes that the WHO ignored the attempts of Chinese whistleblowers to alert the agency to the virus before the CCP’s official report.
The earliest warning signs of a mysterious illness appeared in China in late 2019, with strange cases of pneumonia cropping up in the Hubei Province.
Both the WHO and the Foreign Affairs, the WHO first became aware of the outbreak on December 31, when an online media report about the pneumonia cases triggered an alert on the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED), a US-based, open-source platform.
Although Chinese officials began taking steps to control the outbreak of the disease the next day, including the Wuhan wet market believed to be the site of the virus’s jump from animals to people, the WHO did not publicly acknowledge it until January 4, when the agency tweeted twice about the goings-on in Wuhan.
By then, the genome of the virus was already sequenced, but it wasn’t sent to the WHO until January 13.
The reasons for these and other subsequent delays in the information-sharing chain are unclear, but served as evidence that China and the WHO acted with, at best, neglect and, at-worse, an intent to minimize the deadliest pandemic in 100 years during the crucial early days when it might have been contained.