Health Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday reminded Americans of how Beijing, about a year ago, had held back the truth about the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak, allowing it to turn into a global crisis.
Azar, during a speech at conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, said the early U.S. response to the CCP virus was particularly difficult because the virus emerged in China, which, given the nature of the communist regime, “severely limited” outside access to information about it.
“Let’s consider when and how the United States became aware of the virus,” the nation’s health chief said. “We learned about an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown origin in Wuhan, China on December 30, not through that country’s official channels, as required under the International Health Regulations, but through media monitoring that we do, as well as through a notification from Taiwan’s Economic and Cultural Office here in the United States.”
“That’s right: One of the very first ways the U.S. government was notified of a novel virus in mainland China was by people from Taiwan,” he continued, pointing to the fact Beijing would not publicly admit the first death caused by the CCP virus had occurred until Jan. 11, nearly two weeks after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began developing situation reports on the outbreak.
The World Health Organization (WHO) at that time was still repeating Beijing’s now-debunked claim that there was no human-to-human transmission of the CCP virus, Azar said.
It didn’t take long for American health officials to suspect they couldn’t trust the reports out of China, Azar recalled, noting that the Chinese regime’s explanation for the outbreak “did not make sense.”
“Our CDC director, Dr. Bob Redfield, was told by his Chinese counterpart, Dr. Gao [Fu] of the China CDC, that the story was that the virus had originated from animals in the now-infamous Wuhan market,” said Azar. “Yet in the first week of January, there were several clusters of cases within families, which were very unlikely to have come from close encounters with animals, suggesting human-to-human transmission.”
Azar moved on to list more occasions when Beijing and the WHO obfuscated an international effort to understand and contain the CCP virus before its global spread. For example, it wasn’t until Feb. 16, when the global infection case reached nearly 70,000, that a team of foreign experts was allowed to take a field trip in China.
“By this time, Chinese intransigence meant that the window of opportunity had passed,” Azar said. “Outbreaks of the virus had been seeded around the world. We had been denied the chance to learn about the virus by the country where it originated.”
In another example, Azar revealed that despite repeated pushing for the Chinese authorities to send viral isolates from Chinese patients since last January, his department, at this point, has yet to receive one.
Obtaining accurate case or death numbers related to the CCP virus in China since the initial outbreak has been all but impossible, while the numbers that have been put out by the regime are considered by experts to be highly suspect.
Xi Jinping, the CCP’s general secretary, declared last September in a grand ceremony that the pandemic was successfully eradicated across the country, while the virus continued to ravage the rest of the world, claiming it was proof of the supremacy of so-called “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
Two weeks into 2021, however, China is experiencing a series of major outbreaks in its northern heartland. Shijiazhuang, which lies about 160 miles southwest of Beijing, has been placed under strict lockdown along with its 11 million residents after new clusters of infections emerged there.
“China has spent the better part of this year shamelessly promoting an Orwellian version of events, designed to persuade the world that its authoritarian form of government is best suited to respond to a public health crisis,” Azar said. “The facts are, however, that if a novel virus like this had emerged in a democratic nation, a global outbreak might never have occurred.”