The accusations between China and US of where specifically COVID-19 began continue.
On March 22nd, Lijian Zhao, spokesperson and deputy director general at the Information Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry foreign ministry tweeted the following:
Alleging that COVID-19 cases may have been present around September 2019, but the US had no testing ability to detect any of it.
Furthermore, the US appeared to have eliminated a key US public health position in Beijing, months before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The American disease expert, a medical epidemiologist embedded in China’s disease control agency, left her post in July, according to four sources with knowledge of the issue. The first cases of the new coronavirus may have emerged as early as November, and as cases exploded, the Trump administration in February chastised China for censoring information about the outbreak and keeping U.S. experts from entering the country to help,” Reuters reported.
On February 25th, the first day the CDC told the American public to prepare for an outbreak at home, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of mishandling the epidemic through its “censorship” of medical professionals and media.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since then, as Trump has labeled the coronavirus the “Chinese virus” – a description the Chinese have condemned as stigmatizing.
In response, the Chinese government announced that Americans from three U.S. news organizations, The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, would be expelled from China.
On March 20th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, once again, accused China, alongside Russia and Iran of spreading disinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are coordinated efforts to disparage what America is doing and our activity to do all the things President Trump has set into motion,” the secretary said.
“It is pretty diffused, unfortunately. But we have certainly seen it come from places like China, and Russia and Iran,” he said.
Pompeo also noted that there is false information being spread about the U.S. government instituting lockdowns.
“I want to talk about the disinformation that people are seeing on Twitter and around the world, some of it coming from governments and other individuals,” Pompeo said at the start of the briefing. “I just urge everyone as they are seeing information that at one time suggested that this virus somehow emanated from the U.S. army, this information about lockdowns that are taking place.”
To address the disinformation threat, Pompeo said the U.S. is doing “lots of things” to fight back.
“We want to make sure the American people go to trusted sources for their information. But we’ve made clear — we’ve spoken to these countries directly that they need to knock it off, we don’t approve of it. And then there are a handful of other things we are engaged in to make sure the right information is out there,” Pompeo said.
1/2 Heard about the story of plugging ears while stealing bell? Is this the so-called freedom of information? Don't the American people have the right to know the truth? Will self-deception and smearing China help with epidemic response?https://t.co/VL5k1B75iC
— Hua Chunying 华春莹 (@SpokespersonCHN) March 22, 2020
Meanwhile, US CDC Director Robert Redfield said that patients who had seemingly died from influenza tested positive for COVID-19.
CDC director Robert Redfield admitted some Americans who seemingly died from influenza were tested positive for novel #coronavirus in the posthumous diagnosis, during the House Oversight Committee Wednesday. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/kk7q0bKE6p
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) March 12, 2020
The information war is on-going, with US officials and media attempting to heavily discredit China, which is attempting to investigate how the crisis specifically transpired.
China is, meanwhile, sending medical equipment to many countries afflicted by COVID-19, as well as experts in an attempt to curb the spread worldwide.
The US is currently struggling with carrying out any sort of uniform response to the situation, and is proving incapable of protecting its own people, let alone cooperating or assisting its allies.
In addition, Trump and Co.’s attempts to call the COVID-19 “Chinese virus” appear to be causing adverse effects in the US itself.
“But Trump’s repeated insistence on calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus” is more than just xenophobic; it causes harm both to Asian Americans and to the White House’s response to this life-threatening pandemic,” Ted Lieu, a US Senator said in his opinion piece published in the Washington Post.
Trump’s leadership, and that perpetuated by his aides shows a heavy mismanagement of the situation.
“Trump’s rhetoric adds fuel to the growing fire of hatred being misdirected at Asian Americans. The fact that he is the president of the United States, who is responsible for the well-being of all Americans, only makes his rhetoric even more disturbing. The leaders of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have warned that we should not use terms such as “Chinese virus.” The novel coronavirus already has an official name, SARS-CoV-2, and an unofficial name, covid-19. Injecting an ethnic qualifier to the virus is unnecessary and can stigmatize Asian Americans.”
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Coronavirus COVID-19: “Made in China” or “Made in America”?
- Escobar: “China Locked In Hybrid War With US”