Coronavirus spread because of Chinese Communist Party’s ineptitude and deceptions

Early last December, people in Wuhan, China began showing symptoms of an unidentifiable respiratory disease in increasing numbers. Today scientists have identified the source of this outbreak as a novel coronavirus that causes the disease now named COVID-19. They believe it was transmitted from an animal to a human.

Once the first people in Wuhan became sick, the coronavirus appears to have quickly evolved so it can be transmitted from human to human, making it a highly infectious pathogen.

Only four months since the start of the outbreak, the new coronavirus has created a pandemic. It has infected more than 1 million people around the world that we know of, killed tens of thousands, and ground the global economy to a halt.

The more we learn about COVID-19 and its origins, the clearer it becomes that much of the death and suffering could have been avoided had the Chinese Communist Party taken this threat more seriously.

Doctors in Wuhan began sounding the alarm early on, as patients with serious symptoms began filling Chinese hospitals in December. Dr. Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan, began alerting his former medical school classmates in December about COVID-19 and its similarities to another disease that caused a global crisis in 2002: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Instead of heeding these warnings from experts on the frontlines, the Chinese Communist Party concealed information and punished Dr. Li. He was reprimanded by Communist Party officials at his hospital and forced to write a letter criticizing himself for leaking information. 

On Jan. 1, before much of the world would learn of COVID-19, the Wuhan Public Security Bureau summoned eight doctors to publicly admonish them for spreading “rumors” surrounding the new disease.

Dr. Li later died after contracting COVID-19, as did numerous Chinese health care workers who bravely fought to save their compatriots. In response, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan resolution I sponsored honoring Dr. Li’s courage that included some of his last words, that “there should be more openness and transparency” in China. 

Meanwhile, Chinese Communist Party officials desperate to avoid embarrassment put their own citizens at risk by making every effort to maintain business as usual. They duped the World Health Organization (WHO) into complicity, as the WHO announced that Chinese officials found “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus,” despite testimony from the Chinese doctors demonstrating otherwise a month earlier.

On Jan. 21 – the same day the U.S. confirmed our first COVID-19 case and after Thailand and South Korea confirmed their own cases – the Chinese state-run People’s Daily newspaper acknowledged an epidemic was occurring.

The same day, without an ounce of shame or irony, the Chinese Communist Party stated: “Anyone who deliberately delays and hides the reporting of [virus] cases out of his or her own self-interest will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.”

Nevertheless, Chinese leaders allowed hundreds of millions of people to travel across mainland China during the Lunar New Year in late January, spreading the virus further throughout the country. 

A new study highlights the extent of the Chinese government’s failure to contain this disease. It discovered that had the Chinese Communist Party taken steps to contain the virus “one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively – significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease.” 

Instead, the Communist leadership of China publicly disregarded the threat of the coronavirus, falsely claimed there were few signs of human-to-human transmission, and waited until Jan. 12 to release genetic information about the virus to other governments.

Even now, the Chinese Communist Party refuses to admit fault and instead proclaims itself the model of how to contain the virus. Chinese leaders have spread venomous propaganda that COVID-19 originated in the U.S. – even though the vast majority of the evidence indicates the disease originated in a “wet market” in Wuhan.

We have no reason to believe the number of COVID-19 cases reported by China is accurate. Now the health of every individual and economy around the world is threatened because of Chinese attempts to hide the truth.

This is why I’ve called for the formation of an interagency task force under the aegis of the National Security Council with the purpose of countering the sinister propaganda campaign coming from the Chinese Communist Party related to COVID-19.

Here at home, COVID-19 has touched all 50 states and upended our very way of life. As I write this, nearly 250,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.S. and nearly 6,000 have passed away here. 

A record 9.9 million Americans have filed for unemployment compensation as our economy buckles and the American people have changed every aspect of our daily lives to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

We will come together in this time of need and we will persevere through this crisis as we have many others, but we would have never faced this if not for the Chinese Communist Party’s ineptitude and deceptions. 

The Chinese Communist Party’s record is clear – it chose to sacrifice thousands of its own citizens and threaten the health and economy of the entire world to try and save face. For that, the Chinese Communist Party “will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.”


U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO)

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