The Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization are “culpable” for the spread of the CCP virus and the global pandemic could have likely been prevented had they acted differently, an audit by congressional Republicans stated.
The CCP engaged in active cover-up efforts of information surrounding the spread of the CCP virus, also known as the novel coronavirus, and the WHO enabled the cover-up by praising the CCP and “parroting” its speaking points, according to a report (pdf) released Monday by Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“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,” the 90-page report stated.
“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,” the report continued, citing a study on Medrxiv, a Yale University-linked online site sharing non-peer-reviewed, pre-publication medical manuscripts. “It is highly likely the ongoing pandemic could have been prevented.”
Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the lead Republican of the committee, said in a statement, “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.”
“Revealing the truth is just the first step; we must hold both the CCP and WHO Director General Tedros accountable for the suffering they have allowed the world to endure,” he added.
The report provides four recommendations, which include calling for a change in leadership at the WHO, Taiwan’s re-admittance to the WHO as an observer, and concrete reforms to the International Health Regulations (IHR).
It also calls for the United States to join with likeminded WHO member states and Taiwan in an international investigation of the CCP’s cover-up efforts of the virus and the WHO’s failure to fulfil its obligations under the IHR.
The report said that the CCP had enough information by “no later than” Dec. 27, 2019, to find that it was “legally obligated” to inform the WHO that the CCP virus outbreak in Wuhan may constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), but it chose not to do so, in violation of international law.
Had it been transparent and followed international health regulations, China’s ruling CCP could have prevented an estimated two-thirds of cases in China prior to the end of February, and could have helped the rest of the world better respond to the outbreak, the report said.
Instead, there were “multiple, disturbing examples of the CCP harassing and detaining Chinese doctors who attempted to warn others about the realities of the outbreak,” the report noted.
The CCP also nationalized control of its medical supply chain and directed that all production and distribution of medical supplies—including other nations’ production lines in China—be for domestic use in order to stockpile personal protective equipment (PPE) in China, the report said.
“This enabled the [CCP] to increase production of face masks from 20 million to more than 100 million per day, at the expense of foreign companies being allowed to export their products—several manufactures have stated that the PRC would not authorize them to export PPE produced in their facilities,” the report stated.
“It is highly likely that China’s nationalization of the manufacturing capacity of foreign companies, including 3M and General Motors, directly impacted the ability of the United States and other countries to procure PPE on the global market,” the report said.
The authors also noted that the CCP continues to refuse to share lab samples from the Wuhan Institute of Virology that would help in seeing whether the research institute played a role in the origins of the pandemic.
Republican lawmakers stated that the United Nation’s WHO “has been complicit in the spread and normalization of CCP propaganda and disinformation.”
“WHO Director-General Tedros has responded to the CCP’s cover-up by praising the CCP for their ‘transparency,’ despite internal documents showing WHO frustration with the CCP’s failure to share critical data and information about the virus,” the report stated. “The WHO has repeatedly parroted CCP talking points while ignoring conflicting information from reputable sources.”
The WHO also failed to investigate questions and warnings from Taiwan and Hong Kong about potential human-to-human transmission of the CCP virus in the early days, it stated.
Taiwan said it had written to the WHO and China as early as Dec. 31 asking for information about the outbreak in Wuhan, including whether there was human-to-human transmission. Later on Jan. 4, Dr. Ho Pak-leung of the University of Hong Kong’s (UHK) Centre of Infection —a member of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control—warned that human-to-human transmission was likely already occurring.
Under Article 9 of the IHR, the WHO “is mandated to investigate unofficial reports and warnings like those from Dr. Ho,” the report stated. “Had the WHO done so, the world would have been warned about the high likelihood of human-to-human transmission sixteen days prior to the CCP confirming what Dr. Ho already knew. ”
The report said that WHO Director General Tedros had enough information to declare a public health emergency (PHEIC) by Jan. 23 but chose not to do so, which violated WHO mandates. The report also stated that the decision “appears to be of a political nature, not scientific.”
“The chair of the Emergency Committee explained the lack of a recommendation supporting a PHEIC declaration was in part due to the negative perception of such a declaration by the people in the PRC responding to the outbreak,” the report stated. “It appears self-evident that this is a reference to the CCP, not doctors or patients in Wuhan.”
The WHO also “routinely lagged” behind the scientific community in its technical guidance as to how to respond to the pandemic.
“In addition to not recommending the widespread use of masks for 130+ days, their guidance on aerosol transmission has been widely criticized by health experts,” the authors noted.