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Were the doctors in Wuhan allowed to raise the alarm about the coronavirus outbreak?

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-08-28 08:30
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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press briefing in Washington DC, the United States, on March 5, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his recent speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, negated every aspect of China-US relations, maliciously attacked the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and China's political system, and attempted to drive a wedge between the CPC and the Chinese people. He also wantonly criticized China's domestic and foreign policies, spread the so-called "China threat", and called for an anti-China alliance to contain China's development.

Pompeo's baseless, fact-distorting speech misrepresents history and the reality. It is full of ideological prejudice and driven by a Cold-War mentality. His remarks have not only been condemned by the Chinese people, but also criticized and opposed by sensible people in the United States as well as the international community.

To debunk the lies fabricated by Pompeo, let the facts speak for themselves.

Rumor:

Mike Pompeo: The world would be much better if doctors in Wuhan had been allowed to raise the alarm about the outbreak of a new and novel virus.

Fact:

On Aug. 3, Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of medical journal The Lancet, wrote in an article in The Guardian, saying that Chinese doctors quickly warned their government and their government warned the world, but Western nations failed to listen to those warnings. To blame China for this pandemic is to rewrite the history of COVID-19 and to marginalize the failings of Western nations.

-- The novel coronavirus is unknown to mankind. It takes a process to study and understand it. As one of the first countries hit by the virus, China undertook a closed-book exam, which means developing effective prevention and control measures requires more careful research beforehand. Jumping to conclusions without research shows no sense of responsibility to science and to the people.

-- China has been open, transparent, rapid and effective in its response to COVID-19, with no cover-ups or delays. On Dec. 27, 2019, Dr. Zhang Jixian, director of the respiratory and critical care medicine department at Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, reported suspected cases. After that China took rapid actions, carried out etiological and epidemiological investigations, and blocked the spreading of the epidemic. China's information sharing has been timely. Starting from Jan. 3, 2020, China provided epidemic updates on a regular basis to the World Health Organization and foreign countries including the United States. China carried out international cooperation, shared the genome sequence of the virus with other countries at the earliest time possible, and shared its epidemic prevention and control experience. The United States ignored the warnings from China. Now out of political motives, it is wantonly questioning China's transparency. Such a move is utter disrespect for the tremendous efforts and sacrifices of the Chinese people.

-- After the COVID-19 outbreak, the vast majority of Chinese medical workers, bearing in mind their supreme mission of safeguarding the lives and health of the people, rushed to the front line of epidemic prevention and control without hesitation, raced against time to rescue patients, fought against the disease, and created one medical miracle after another. Their professional ethics, professionalism and strong will are highly recognized by people from all walks of life in China. The Chinese government has unveiled a slew of measures to protect and care for medical staff and commended them with awards and honors. Zhang Dingyu, head of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, and Zhang Jixian, the doctor at Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine who first reported the COVID-19 cases, have gotten a merit award. Many medical staff and medical teams were honored with the May Fourth Medals, and eight medical workers, including Li Wenliang, were honored posthumously. Recently, Zhong Nanshan was awarded the Medal of the Republic, while Zhang Boli, Zhang Dingyu and Chen Wei were awarded the national honorary title "the People's Hero" to honor their significant contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

-- US politicians have put politics above science, ignored the reality of their incompetence in fighting the epidemic, and repeatedly criticized the epidemic prevention and control advice raised by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fauci said he and his family had received death threats and had to get extra security. Recently, over 3,000 US public health experts signed an open letter, criticizing the efforts of White House officials to discredit Fauci. Calling the COVID-19 pandemic the greatest challenge the United States has faced in its history, the open letter said the attempt of the White House to discredit and marginalize Fauci is a dangerous distraction. The Washington Post commented on July 20 that under the guidance of the US government, many Americans believe scientists and mainstream media have exaggerated the severity of the pandemic or even fabricated the pandemic, and that resistance to scientific experts has become part of the political agenda. A New York Times report cited the experience of Dr. Helen Y. Chu, the US whistleblower, and a team of researchers, saying that faced with a public health emergency on a scale potentially not seen in a century, the United States has not responded nimbly. The professional advice of Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority under the US Department of Health and Human Services, was unkindly treated by senior US health officials. He was ousted from his position after refusing to allow wide use of the medicine in accordance with government orders. The official website of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped updating in early March and deleted relevant data on the number of people tested for the novel coronavirus and the number of deaths.

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