Four questions the US must answer concerning COVID-19

By Le Yu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/1 14:50:38

Medical workers carry a patient into an ambulance in New York, the US, April 6, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

The coronavirus situation in the US is deteriorating rapidly, with the country's infections surpassing 1 million on Tuesday and death toll topping 63,000 on Friday. Anyone with sympathy is concerned about the epidemic in the US, yet some US politicians are busy scapegoating China rather than saving lives or reflecting on their own anti-virus efforts. Recently, reports from US mainstream media show that people are having an increasing number of questions about the US epidemic. It is hoped that the US government can provide clear answers to the world in an open, transparent and responsible manner.

First, when and where did the novel coronavirus break out in the US?

A report released in late April by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department in California suggests that a 57-year-old woman from the county died from COVID-19 on February 6, about three weeks earlier than what was originally thought to be the US' first death caused by the virus. Local health authorities said this victim had no history of travel to China or to any other countries where the outbreak occurred.

If so, how did this early patient become infected? The autopsy report of the 57-year-old was completed on February 7, but was not signed until April 23. What happened over those two and a half months?

On March 11, Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), admitted that some in the US who were previously thought to have been killed from the flu may have been infected with the novel coronavirus. A report from the US CDC showed that there were at least 34 million cases of the flu in the US last winter and that at least 20,000 people died from the flu.

Among the large number of reported influenza patients in the US, how many cases were misdiagnosed and had actually been infected with the novel coronavirus? Where was patient zero in the US? When did the outbreak occur in the US? How credible is the data previously released by the US government? Was the US government intentionally hiding something due to political considerations?

Second, where did the mainstream imported cases in the US come from? How many infections has the US exported to the world?

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said that the coronavirus that hit New York State did not come from China but Europe. After the epidemic broke out in China, the US soon issued a travel ban on all people coming from China, yet the country did not close its doors to Europe until mid-March, giving the virus the opportunity to sneak into the US from Europe.

Also in March, Australian prime minister said that the US was the country of origin for most of the novel coronavirus cases in Australia.

US politicians are saying that China spread the virus to the US. Could they clarify how many patients were imported cases from China, and how many came from other countries? Why didn't the US government prevent this large number of infections from entering and spreading in the US? How many cases has the US spread to the world?

Third, why did the US shut down the Army laboratory at Fort Detrick that studies deadly infectious materials?

Reports show that the US' main biological warfare lab had been ordered to stop all research into certain biological agents and toxins for security reasons in June 2019, but no detailed reasons have been offered.

Coincidentally, shortly before the lab was shut down, a large number of people became ill with respiratory symptoms, ranging from a cough to pneumonia, in two nursing homes in a nearby county in Virginia.

As of August 27, 2019, 215 possible cases of severe pulmonary disease, reportedly associated with the use of electronic cigarette products, had been reported to the CDC. All patients described in these reports have had ground glass opacities revealed on their chest tomography scans. Relevant infections had been surging since then, as of September 24, 2019, 805 cases of lung injury from 46 states and one territory had been reported to the CDC.

On March 10, a petition was launched on the White House's website, asking the US government to make public the real reason for the closure of Fort Detrick, and to clarify whether the laboratory is the research unit for the novel coronavirus as well as whether there was a virus leak. The petition also noted that a large number of English news reports about the closure of Fort Detrick were deleted.

Those are questions from not only Americans, but also people across the world. Why has the US refused to provide further explanations concerning the lab? Does the electronic cigarette disease have any connections with COVID-19? Why were reports about the lab deleted? Was the US trying to cover something up?

Fourth, is there a risk of leakage from US biological bases overseas?

The US military has many biological laboratories in Southeast Asia and countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. In Ukraine, it was reported that there are 16 biological laboratories set up by the US. According to a spokesperson from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US Department of Defense set up biological laboratories with a dual role in a third country on the pretext of combating biochemical terrorism. The possibility cannot be ruled out that it aims to develop or reorganize various dangerous disease pathogens for military purposes and to strengthen its influence in the biochemical sector overseas.

Why has the US built so many biological laboratories in other countries? What's the purpose in locating these laboratories in countries surrounding China and Russia? Do these laboratories meet security standards? Are there hidden dangers of a leak? When can the US respond to the various suspicions concerning its overseas labs?

Only the US government can answer these questions. We need to respect facts, science and life. We call on the US government to clear these doubts in an open, transparent and responsible manner as soon as possible and invite scientists from all over the world to the US to investigate the origin of the novel coronavirus. The truth must be restored, which will help the US fix its reputation crippled by lies.

The author is an observer of international affairs.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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