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Nancy Brost: Is China trustworthy?

Other Voices
Nancy Brost

China’s unacceptable cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak that started a global plague and crashed the world’s economy is the disgrace of the century.

In his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump warned us about the threats coming from China. Behind the happy face China tries to reflect to the world there are slave labor factories, concentration camps, theft of intellectual property, identity theft, bribery, and corruption.

A study published in March by the University of Southampton indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been significantly reduced and its geographic spread limited.

A condensed timeline compiled from information reported by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other sources show that China’s cover-up and delay in serious measures to contain the virus lasted about three weeks: One of the earliest known coronavirus patients started feeling ill on Dec. 10, 2020, and was admitted to Wuhan Central Hospital on Dec. 16.

Staff later learned he worked at a wildlife market connected to the outbreak. On Dec. 27 Wuhan health officials are told the new coronavirus is causing the illness. On Dec. 30 two Wuhan doctors, Ai Fen and Li Wenliang post information about the virus. Fen is reprimanded and Wenliang is called in for “questioning.”

On Dec. 31, Wuhan health officials confirm 27 cases of the illness and close a market they think is related to the virus spread and tells the World Health Organization (WHO) about the unknown illness. At the Jan. 11-17 Chinese Communist Party meeting in Wuhan, when questioned, the Wuhan Health Commission insists there are no new cases. During this time the first case is reported outside China in Thailand.

On Jan. 14 the World Health Organization announces that Chinese authorities tell them they see no evidence of human-to-human transmission. The first U.S. case in Washington State is reported on Jan. 15. On Jan. 20, a top Chinese doctor working on the virus response announces the virus can be passed between people. On Jan. 23 Wuhan and three cities are put on lockdown and 5 million leave the city before being screened. On Jan. 24-30 China celebrates their Lunar New Year holiday with millions of people moving around the country visiting relatives.

On Jan. 30, the WHO declares virus a global health emergency. On Jan. 31 the Trump Administration starts restricting flights to the U.S. from China. On March 11, the WHO officially declares the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic, after the disease caused by the new virus spread to more than 100 countries and led to tens of thousands of cases within a few months.

Since then China has been trying to create a narrative that it’s an example of how to handle this crisis when in fact its early inaction led to the virus spreading around the globe.

President Trump was criticized for suspending U.S. funding for the WHO, pointing out that they haven’t been a stalwart source of truth or reliable information and has been too willing to echo China’s talking points during the critical early days of the virus outbreak. China’s detrimental influence over the WHO has been building for over a decade.

Governments should be echoing Trump’s demand for more transparency and accountability and getting to the bottom of WHO’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party.

Our anger with China is justified and requires smart responses. When all is said and done countries around the world will need to evaluate what they did right and what could have been done better.

As we move past this crisis, Americans will work together for a stronger more prosperous country.

Nancy Brost lives in Nevada City.


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