A new study found that the COVID-19 global death toll is double that of prior estimates by the World Health Organization. The WHO estimated 3.2 million deaths, but Director Chris Murray at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington told the Financial Times that “the actual toll is significantly worse.”
The new study, by IHME, estimates that the coronavirus killed 6.9 million. Not including economic damages from the lockdown, suffering to survivors, costs borne by society from hospitalization and new vaccines, future damages from the ongoing growth of the pandemic, or criminal penalties, China is already responsible for approximately $19 trillion in damages, according to my calculations.
Deaths in the United States are estimated at nearly 900,000 rather than the 570,000 of prior estimates, according to the IHME study. India has an even worse underestimate, with actual deaths calculated at three times the official numbers. Russian deaths are now estimated at 593,000 rather than the official tally of 109,000. The Institute explained that test quality inconsistency and under-reporting of care facility deaths explain prior undercounts.
The new mortality figures were calculated by subtracting pre-COVID death trends from the actual death trends during the pandemic. The University of Washington adjusted the estimate for indirect changes from the pandemic, for example higher deaths from fear of hospitals during the pandemic, and lower deaths from reduced vehicular traffic.
The old underestimates tend to let China off the hook and ease government claims that they did well in limiting the effects of COVID. But China must not escape.
Both the Trump and Biden administrations confirmed two key facts. First, the Wuhan lab concealed its work with China’s military. And second, several researchers exhibited COVID-like symptoms in Fall 2019.
Analysts argue that China is legally responsible for the pandemic. Harvard Law professor James Kraska wrote in March: “As the novel coronavirus incubated in Wuhan from mid-December to mid-January, the Chinese state made evidently intentional misrepresentations to its people concerning the outbreak, providing false assurances to the population preceding the approach of the Lunar New Year celebrations on Jan. 25.”
China expert Gordon Chang wrote in an email that the country “intentionally spread COVID-19 beyond its borders,” and called it a form of “mass murder.” He provided three major reasons for this conclusion.
First, “the regime tried to convince the world that COVID-19 was not human-to-human transmissible when it knew that it was.”
Second, after Beijing admitted the disease’s transmissibility, “it then attempted to convince the world that the disease would not lead to many infections and deaths when it knew that it already had, thereby misleading public health officials into not taking precautions they otherwise would have adopted.”
And third, “China pressured [other countries] to not impose travel restrictions and quarantines when it was locking down its own country.”
According to Chang, “Beijing simultaneously arguing that countries should not ban Chinese travelers while maintaining lockdowns unmistakably suggests an intent to spread the disease beyond China’s borders.” He argues that China “saw how COVID-19 had crippled China. If they wanted to cripple other societies with the virus, they would have done what they in fact did …. They maliciously spread the virus to the world.”
According to Chang’s source, China’s National Health Commission ordered every lab, hospital, and other research facility in China to destroy samples of the coronavirus on Jan. 3. The intention could have been to destroy evidence. Chang said the destruction of samples was contrary to best practices during an epidemic. “The universal practice is to keep samples, especially during the early stages of an epidemic when they are needed for contact tracing and vaccine development.”
The title of Professor Kraska’s March article concluded that claims against China for COVID-19 “could be in the trillions.” He wrote in an email that, “In the law deaths are calculated as an economic cost of the deceased’s expected earnings, potential inheritance and job benefits, and goods and services that they would have produced in their lifetime, plus the costs of their medical support and funeral expenses. In general, these costs have been in the $2.5-3.0 million range for a single person. These costs could (and should) be added to a claim against China for wrongful death, in my view.”
Multiplying 6.9 million COVID-19 deaths by $2.75 million per person indicates that China should compensate families for $19 trillion in wrongful death damages from COVID. This does not include future damages from the ongoing pandemic, suffering by survivors, societal economic loss from lockdowns, or criminal penalties for what Mr. Chang calls “mass murder.” Total additional damages could also be in the trillions.
If China fails to pay these costs, our governments should force China to pay by attaching its foreign assets. Sovereign immunity is no excuse for unelected governments that are no better than terrorists, according to University of Chicago professor Teng Biao and human rights lawyer Terri Marsh.
If our own governments fail to aggressively prosecute China for its COVID-19 crimes, they are derelict in their most sacred duty to protect the citizenry.
Anders Corr has a bachelor’s/master’s in political science from Yale University (2001) and a doctorate in government from Harvard University (2008). He is a principal at Corr Analytics Inc., publisher of the Journal of Political Risk, and has conducted extensive research in North America, Europe, and Asia. He authored “The Concentration of Power” (forthcoming in 2021) and “No Trespassing,” and edited “Great Powers, Grand Strategies.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.