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House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul Releases Interim Report on Origins of COVID-19 Pandemic

Report details how the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) cover-up combined with the World Health Organization’s refusal to heed warnings led to the virus becoming a pandemic

Washington, D.C.- Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul released an interim report detailing the investigation into the origins and initial handling of COVID-19.  The report includes sections on how it spread throughout China, how it spread to other countries, and why international regulations put into place to address challenges identified as a result of the CCP’s handling of the 2003 SARS epidemic were not followed. In addition, it has various recommendations to help ensure the world does not have to suffer this fate again. 

“After months of investigating, it’s become crystal clear the Chinese Communist Party’s cover-up of the coronavirus, especially in the early days of the outbreak, played a significant role in turning what could have been a local epidemic into a global pandemic,” said Republican Leader Michael McCaul. “And, unfortunately, the World Health Organization under the leadership of Director General Tedros only exacerbated the problem by repeatedly ignoring warnings about the severity of the virus, including from their own health experts, while at the same time parroting the CCP’s propaganda without independently confirming their claims. This was a failure of monumental proportions and it is imperative that we uncover the truth so we can set up future safeguards to prevent this from happening yet again.”

The report is the culmination of months of detailed research and utilizes multiple sources of information including WeChat logs and social media posts from doctors and residents of Wuhan, domestic and international open source media reports, academic papers, peer-reviewed scientific research, think tank products, and public assessments from the American and French intelligence communities.

Rep. McCaul also serves as the Chairman of the China Task Force, a group of lawmakers working to find and address the most serious threats posed to the United States by the Chinese Communist Party. This interim report will be submitted to the China Task Force and others as a part of the ongoing investigation. A more expansive report will be produced in the coming months. 

Read the report here.

Background:

Early Stages of the Pandemic

  • The CCP had sufficient information to warrant a full scale public health response as early as mid-December, 2019. (pg.5)
  • The CCP repeatedly, and intentionally, violated the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR) that were put in place after Beijing’s failed response to SARS between 2002-2004. (pg.7)
  • Reports from Taiwan, outside experts, and in the media were ignored by the WHO. (pg.8)

The Chinese Communist Party’s Cover-up

  • The CCP actively engaged in a cover-up designed to limit the spread of information about the virus. (pg.14 and throughout this section)
  • These efforts included punishing doctors, disappearing journalists, censoring the internet in the PRC, spreading disinformation on social media, and withholding information from the WHO and international community. (pg.16)
  • To date, the CCP has refused to provide the international community with lab samples, accurate case data, and access to sites of interest around Wuhan, PRC. (pg.14)
  • The CCP cover-up means it is unlikely that we will be able to identify the source of the outbreak. (pg.23)
  • General-Secretary Xi and senior CCP leaders knew a pandemic was occurring weeks before they implemented a lockdown in Wuhan. (pg.10)
  • Had the CCP instituted a full scale, public response in early February, up to 95% of cases in the PRC at the end of February could have been prevented. (pg.21)

The Wuhan Institute of Virology

  • State Department cables from 2018 suggest ongoing safety issues – safety issues at a different lab in Beijing in 2004 resulted in the accidental release of the SARS virus, killing one and infecting 7 others. (pg.27)
  • Developed with France, the construction was marked by deep distrust between the governments and concerns from the French military and intelligence services regarding possible dual-use technology. (pg.24)
  • Senior leadership at the institute are local CCP leaders. (pg.25)
  • The WIV has a long history of coronavirus research activities, including gain-of-function research. (pg. 26)
  • The BSL-4 lab was taken over by a senior bioweapons expert in the PRC’s People’s Liberation Army earlier this year. (pg.26)

WHO Missteps

  • From the early days of the outbreak, Director-General Tedros and the WHO have overly relied on unverifiable CCP talking points. (pg.33)
  • The WHO appears to have repeatedly violated their own IHR and their obligations to Member States. (pg.29)
  • The WHO claimed for weeks that human-to-human transmission was not occurring, despite warnings from a WHO Collaborating Center at the University of Hong Kong and elsewhere. (pg.35)
  • It is likely that DG Tedros delayed the announcement of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern for political, not medical reasons. (pg.31)
  • DG Tedros and the WHO continue to use misleading statements in public statements and written material that enables CCP propaganda, misinformation, and revisionist history regarding COVID-19. (pg.33)

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