Anyone remember ‘the coronavirus’ ?
The Associated Press (AP) on Tuesday reported on leaked documents from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) that showed its officials were well aware China was withholding vital information about the coronavirus in January, even as W.H.O. leadership extravagantly praised China for its transparency.
The AP report described a massive disconnect between W.H.O.’s public statements and the private frustration of its officials as the Chinese “sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the deadly virus for over a week after multiple government labs had fully decoded it, not sharing details key to designing tests, drugs, and vaccines.”
The report noted that even after a Chinese lab seemingly broke with Communist Party officials and published the genome of the Wuhan coronavirus, “China stalled for at least two more weeks on giving W.H.O. the details it needed, according to recordings of multiple internal meetings held by the UN health agency in January.”
“Although the W.H.O. continued to publicly commend China, the recordings show they were concerned China was not sharing enough information to assess the risk posed by the new virus, costing the world valuable time,” the AP report said.
One W.H.O. official ruefully noted that the international health organization was getting vital information about the coronavirus “15 minutes before it appears on CCTV,” the Chinese state television network.