Though reports have suggested in recent days that the coronavirus ravaging China and communities around the world reached its peak in early February, the disease, now referred to as COVID-19, has “so far infected more than 73,000 people and killed at least 1,875,” according to Business Insider. And now, one U.S. senator says the Chinese government may be trying to cover up the true magnitude of this deadly outbreak.
“I have very low confidence in the state of Chinese politics because their government is still lying to the world about this deadly matter,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Fox News in an interview on Friday, according to the Washington Examiner.
The Arkansas Republican went on to admit “that China’s scientists and doctors can, in some cases, be world-class and very professional.”
“However, they have sitting next to them at every level of government a minder from the Chinese Communist Party, and I do not have any confidence in those party apparatchiks allowing China’s scientists or their doctors to speak freely to anyone outside of China, especially officials in the United States government,” Cotton continued.
Cotton’s remarks came the same day that he revealed in a tweet that China had admitted the “coronavirus didn’t start in [a] Wuhan food market.” The senator had long maintained that was the case, and he doubled down in his talk with Fox.
“We know that it didn’t start in the Wuhan food market,” Cotton insisted. “That was the original story of the Chinese Communist Party, so it’s only responsible to ask where it did start.” Some observers have suggested that the real source of the outbreak was substandard safety practices at a lab located close to the epidemic’s epicenter, according to the New York Post.
“I still think the most likely hypothesis is it was naturally occurring,” Cotton said, “but given the proximity of that laboratory to the food market, it is only reasonable that we ask the Chinese Communist Party to be open and transparent about the kind of research they were conducting there and the safety, protocols, and practices they had in place.”
More bad news
China has put entire cities under quarantine, and some have expressed concern that the resulting shortfall in manufacturing will lead to potentially serious supply chain disruptions. This fear apparently prompted the Dow Jones Industrial Average to plunge by over 1,000 points on Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal, although Democrat 2020 hopeful Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada caucuses may have contributed to the downturn.
“The Bernie factor is finally rearing its head in the stock market,” Fox Business host Charles Payne suggested Monday, according to Mediaite. “There’s absolutely no doubt.”
Either way, the Dow wasn’t the only market hit. The NASDAQ was down, as well, and significant losses have also been seen in Europe and Asia.
“Investors around the world stepped up their retreat from stocks and piled into haven assets like government bonds and” gold, the Journal reported Monday, reflecting escalating worries that the coronavirus will crimp global economic growth.
Only time will tell if President Donald Trump’s America-first policies will be enough for the U.S. economy to withstand this downturn.