Murphy tried to absolve China and the WHO of wrongdoing, but inadvertently confirmed a point made by Dr. Birx about how China’s deceptive early data helped shape the U.S.’s initial response to the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.
The worst thing about the Wuhan Coronavirus, obviously, is the number of people who have become sick from it and the number of lives lost around the world.
The second worst thing about it is that both China and the World Health Organization lied about its origins and transmission method. Their dishonesty and lack of transparency about the disease severely hampered efforts in the countries who got it afterward, like the United States, to get a firm handle on it despite the actions taken by the Trump administration early on like the China travel restrictions.
The latest example of this comes from Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who appeared on Anderson Cooper’s show earlier this week to bash President Trump’s response to the Wuhan Coronavirus crisis. A widely shared clip from the interview shows Murphy putting the full blame for the outbreak here in America on Trump:
“…the reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today, is not because of anything that China did. It’s not because of anything that the WHO did. It’s because of what this president did.”
Sen. Chris Murphy:
"The reason that we're in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did"pic.twitter.com/9EskhdFQvb
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 15, 2020
Contrary to Murphy’s politically convenient whitewashing of history, White House Coronavirus Task Force response coordinator Dr. Deboroah Birx explained a few weeks ago how China’s (deceptive) data reporting on the virus in the early days shaped the United States’ response:
“When you talk about could we have known something different, you know, I think all of us — I mean I was overseas when this happened, in Africa, and I think when you look at the China data originally, and you said, ‘Oh well, there’s 80 million people, or 20 million people in Wuhan and 80 million people in Hubei,’ and they come up with the number of 50,000, you start thinking of this more like SARS than you do this kind of global pandemic,” she said.
The coordinator then explained that the medical community was not expecting the magnitude of the pandemic based on the data from China. In particular, she referenced the area in which the virus likely originated, Hubei province, for having “close quarters” and implied that the number of cases reported by the country led medical experts to believe the virus was less contagious.
“So, I think the medical community interpreted the Chinese data as this was serious but smaller than anyone expected, because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data,” Birx continued, noting that U.S. officials have a better idea of the virus after following its spread in Spain and Italy.
In other words, it’s easy for the media and Democrats like Murphy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to do Monday morning armchair quarterbacking when it comes to the virus. The U.S. understands a lot more about it now than they did when they were formulating their response to it because China and the WHO both ultimately proved themselves to be untrustworthy.
Cases in point:
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??. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
Incredible timing from @ChrisMurphyCT
These new reports suggest Xi himself was involved in this decision to lie about human to human transmission.
Meanwhile a United States Senator is lying about China’s role so he can attack the President. pic.twitter.com/qNtyNFkhhL
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) April 15, 2020
Let’s get back to the Murphy interview with Cooper. In addition to falsely claiming that President Trump called the virus “a hoax,” which Cooper, of course, did not correct, Murphy said something else during the interview that directly contradicted his claim that China and the WHO were not to blame for the crisis we are in today.
In the video clip at this link, which unfortunately is not embeddable, Murphy was talking about Trump pulling the WHO’s funding and his criticisms of China after Cooper mentioned that Trump had praised the WHO and China early on:
“Well, pulling money out of the WHO has nothing to do with keeping America safe. It’s all about the president’s attempt to try to find scapegoats. Let’s be clear. Early on in this crisis, there was no bigger cheerleader for China and their response to coronavirus than president Donald J. Trump. It was President Trump who on 12 different occasions praised President Xi’s efforts to control coronavirus, specifically praised China’s transparency, which we now know was a complete joke.”
In those comments, Murphy proved Dr. Birx’s point and contradicted his own. Yes, there was praise early on for the WHO and China because the United States was not aware as to the extent of their deception behind the scenes. To reemphasize an earlier point, it was their lack of transparency early on that hamstrung the efforts of many countries, including ours, to understand the full scope and scale of this disease.
China’s under-reporting of case numbers was and is especially crucial here, considering in a country of over 1.4 billion people their case numbers in February were in the 70,000-80,000 range, with reports emerging then that they were manipulating the numbers. In mid-February, senior administration officials in the United States were beginning to talk about how they did “not have high confidence in the information coming out of China” regarding the numbers of cases they were reporting.
That Trump is blaming China for this crisis is not a new development, contra to Murphy’s, and Cooper’s claims that Trump is only “now focusing” on them in an attempt to deflect blame. Trump has been calling this virus the “Chinese virus” for weeks for a reason.
Sen. Murphy is entitled to his own opinions here, but he is not entitled to his individual facts. The facts are that China lied, and people died. It’s just that simple.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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