🚨 POLL: Does China deserve blame for the virus spread?

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🚨 POLL: Does China deserve blame for the virus spread?

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According to a report from the Associated Press, the punishment of eight doctors for “rumor-mongering” was broadcast on national television on January 2.

By January 14th at the latest, the AP reports, leaked internal documents from China show that Xi knew that the situation was dire and that the “risk of transmission and spread” was “high.”

January 14th is the same day that the WHO is accused of downplaying the outbreak.

Six days after Chinese officials found out they were likely facing a severe pandemic from coronavirus, the city of Wuhan held a massive banquet for tens of thousands of people, and millions of people began to travel through the city for Lunar New Year celebrations.

On the seventh day after finding out, President Xi Jinping warned the people of China. However, after a week of silence, over 3,000 people had already been infected, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

This is tremendous,” said Zuo-Feng Zhang, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“If they took action six days earlier, there would have been much fewer patients and medical facilities would have been sufficient. We might have avoided the collapse of Wuhan’s medical system.”

It is unclear whether local officials are to blame for not reporting cases, or whether it was national officials who failed to record them.

The punishment of eight doctors for “rumor-mongering,” was broadcast on national television on January 2.

Dali Yang, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Chicago said, “Doctors in Wuhan were afraid.”

“It was truly intimidation of an entire profession.”

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The Chines government has vehemently denied the suppressing of any information in the beginning stages.

“Those accusing China of lacking transparency and openness are unfair,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Wednesday when asked about the AP story.

“The epidemic situation is still severe and complex, the most severe challenge since SARS in 2003, and is likely to develop into a major public health event,” the memo cites Ma as saying.

More from Associated Press:

But the six-day delay by China’s leaders in Beijing came on top of almost two weeks during which the national Center for Disease Control did not register any cases from local officials, internal bulletins obtained by the AP confirm. Yet during that time, from Jan. 5 to Jan. 17, hundreds of patients were appearing in hospitals not just in Wuhan but across the country.

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Without these internal reports, it took the first case outside China, in Thailand on Jan. 13, to galvanize leaders in Beijing into recognizing the possible pandemic before them. It was only then that they launched a nationwide plan to find cases — distributing CDC-sanctioned test kits, easing the criteria for confirming cases and ordering health officials to screen patients, all without telling the public.

The documents show that the head of China’s National Health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, laid out a grim assessment of the situation on Jan. 14 in a confidential teleconference with provincial health officials. A memo states that the teleconference was held to convey instructions on the coronavirus from President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, but does not specify what those instructions were.

The National Health Commission is the top medical agency in the country. In a faxed statement, the Commission said it had organized the teleconference because of the case reported in Thailand and the possibility of the virus spreading during New Year travel. It added that China had published information on the outbreak in an “open, transparent, responsible and timely manner,” in accordance with “important instructions” repeatedly issued by President Xi.

Yesterday we reported that President Trump announced at the White House, “Today, I am instructing made administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

Trump said the United States will immediately halt all funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) because it had put “political correctness over lifesaving measures.”

“We have deep concerns over whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” Trump said.

“The WHO failed in this duty, and must be held accountable,” Trump said.

Trump added that the WHO had ignored “credible information” in December 2019 that the virus could be transmitted from human to human.

The Washington Post admitted in March that critics accused China and WHO of “covering up or downplaying the severity of an infectious disease outbreak.”

Hours after Trump announced travel restrictions on China, former Vice President Joe Biden criticized the president’s “hysterical xenophobia” on January 31st.

More from Fox News:

On January 4, in a statement first flagged by The National Review, the head University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Infection warned that “the city should implement the strictest possible monitoring system for a mystery new viral pneumonia that has infected dozens of people on the mainland, as it is highly possible that the illness is spreading from human to human.”

The Chinese government also began suppressing news about the virus. Nevertheless, on January 8, the WHO declared: “Preliminary identification of a novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks.”

Again on January 14, the WHO simply echoed Chinese government statements: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.”

By January 19, the WHO had changed its tune. “Not enough is known to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, the clinical features of the disease, the extent to which it has spread, or its source, which remains unknown.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S. and a key member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, has said misinformation from China, repeated by the WHO, had affected U.S. response efforts.

Several media organizations had also uncritically cited WHO’s assurances about the coronavirus.

The Washington Post even ran a story quoting a Chinese official asking for “empathy” and slamming the White House for acting “in disregard of the WHO recommendation against travel restrictions.”