Why China’s lack of transparency regarding the coronavirus could be the reason the novel virus has overtaken the world 

Even though we’re only four months in, 2020 has had more ups and downs than any year in recent memory. From earthquakes across the nation to the passing of Kobe Bryant and now the country being on complete shut down due to COVID-19, it’s been a crazy year. 

With everything happening in such a whirlwind, it is not shocking that many people are asking, “how did we get here?”

Backtracking to the beginning of this pandemic, it is necessary to look to the reports that came from China regarding the initial cases of the virus. 

The first case of coronavirus presented itself in Wuhan, China sometime in late December or early January. China took measures to deal with this new strain of coronavirus as they felt necessary. These measures, unfortunately, were two months too late. 

This is where the first problem lies. According to some measures, China’s action two months earlier could have reduced the number of cases globally by 95 percent. 

The second problem in the information coming out of China is what the World Health Organization (WHO) announced to the world on Jan. 14 and was forced to retract on Jan. 30: The virus can be transmitted by human-to-human contact

These two weeks that were lost for the world to prepare for this pandemic could have been the difference between the catastrophe that this currently is, and a mild flu across China. 

Furthermore, why would China knowingly lock down the city of Wuhan, acknowledging the ability of the virus to spread, but not lock down international travel? Did they want the virus to spread internationally?

Chinese leaders, since then, have continued to deny allegations that China is where the virus came from. Starting a couple of weeks ago, a prominent Chinese government official started promoting claims that a U.S. military officer actually brought the virus to Wuhan from America, something that is being vehemently denied by the American government. 

“When did patient zero begin in US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lijan Zhao tweeted.

These attacks only began on American military once Americans began to accuse China of not being transparent enough when it comes to the virus. Are they spiteful or serious? That is for the public to determine. 

A final interesting data point to consider when speaking about China’s innaction regarding COVID-19 is to consider the relative numbers they claim to be showing of the virus to date. 

China reportedly has 82,341 cases and 3,342 deaths of COVID-19, while the U.S. has 644,089 cases and 28,529 deaths, as of April 15. These numbers may seem normal or relative, but they are absurd when you take into consideration the total population of each country. 

China has nearly 1.4 billion people living within its borders, while the U.S. has approximately 331 million. How could it possibly stand true that with 1.1 billion more citizens in its nation, China has almost 600,000 less cases and 25,000 less deaths from COVID-19 than the U.S.? 

This lack of transcrepency has led to some serious mistrust of the Chinese government when it comes to reporting about the coronavirus. 

A classified U.S. intelligence report reads that “China’s public tally of COVID-19 infections and deaths is purposefully incomplete.” 

In the midst of this chaotic time, China has also been awarded a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, despite the great mistrust the world currently has in them. 

What now? What can we do with faulty numbers? President Donald Trump seems hesitant to completely blame China for the virus, as he struggles between his approval ratings and does not want to rock the boat too much. He did, however, announce that he was going to cut funding to the WHO because of the way they treat the U.S., though we are their biggest contributors.

Furthermore, there are investigations being called for by U.S. senators into what the WHO knew, when they knew it and what their political ties to China may have caused them to cover-up. 

Ultimately, there is going to be a price to pay at the end of the day. As the conversation continues regarding who is truly responsible for the virus, one thing continues to become more and more clear: The U.S. is not going to let China escape this virus unscathed. 

No one gets to lie to the world and fail to prevent the loss of millions of lives for no repercussions.