Written by Aaron Cerbone in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise on March 25, 2020

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik wants China to pay the U.S. and other nations for the impact of the coronavirus which originated in its country and spread throughout the world, and which Stefanik says could have been largely prevented.

Stefanik introduced a resolution Tuesday calling for an international investigation into a cover-up of the early spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Health officials in the Chinese City of Wuhan were warned about the coronavirus as early as Dec. 27, but its government has been criticized for not issuing public warnings soon enough.

Two doctors in Wuhan, Ai Fen and Li Wenliang, took to the social media app WeChat on Dec. 30 to warn the public about the new virus, but were both reprimanded for “spreading rumors.” After Li died from COVID-19 on Feb. 7 public outrage led the Chinese Communist party to conduct a report exonerating him.

A study by the University of Southampton states that had the country seriously intervened three weeks earlier than it did it could have caused a 95% reduction in cases.

“The Communist government of China knowingly withheld critical information needed to combat the spread of the Chinese-born COVID-19 and to this day continues to spread lies and disinformation on the origin of the deadly virus,” Stefanik wrote in a press release. “There is no doubt that China’s unconscionable decision to orchestrate an elaborate coverup of the wide-ranging and deadly implications of coronavirus led to the death of thousands of people, including hundreds of Americans, and climbing. This Resolution calls for China to provide compensation for the harm, loss and destruction their arrogance brought upon the rest of the world. Simply put — China must, and will, be held accountable.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Hawley wrote in the press release that the Chinese government, “was aware of the reality of the virus as early as December but ordered laboratories to destroy samples and forced doctors to keep silent.”

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