The World Health Organization (WHO) praised Beijing’s response to the novel coronavirus in line with Chinese propagandists, at one point denying human-to-human transmission was taking place as the deadly and highly contagious disease spiraled out of control inside the communist country.
WHO Twitter messages from January and February show that the United Nations body was spreading Chinese propaganda. Health officials detected the first case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on November 17 in Wuhan, China.
Communist officials in China hid the extent of the coronavirus outbreak during the early stages of the epidemic, jailing and silencing whistleblowers, a move that allowed the virus to gain a firm hold. The ruling communist party, however, has hailed the recent slowdown of the outbreak as a sign of the superiority of its authoritarian political system.
A study published earlier this month by the University of Southampton, determined that China could have prevented 95 percent of the coronavirus infections plaguing the globe if Beijing had listened to the doctor whistleblowers in Wuhan about the seriousness of the disease instead of silencing and punishing them for speaking out.
“At critical moments, officials chose to put secrecy and order ahead of openly confronting the growing crisis to avoid public alarm and political embarrassment,” the New York Times acknowledged in early February. China has refused to apologize for its mishandling of the outbreak during its initial phase.
Meanwhile, it appears that the WHO has been covering for the ruling communist party in China.
On January 14, the day before the first case to reach the United States reportedly flew from Wuhan to Seattle, Washington, the WHO denied that the disease was spreading through human-to-human transmission.
“Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel [coronavirus] identified in [Wuhan],” the WHO wrote on Twitter.
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
It took the WHO a few days to finally concede on Twitter that person-to-person transmission was indeed possible, but it continued to downplay that threat for several days.
Q: Is there a treatment for a novel #coronavirus infection?
A: There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment is based on the patient’s clinical condition https://t.co/PKzKaO2yfK pic.twitter.com/QxNg634JdS
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 17, 2020
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 30, 2020
On February 4, the U.N. body cast doubt on assertions that asymptomatic persons infected by coronavirus could transmit the disease.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 4, 2020
Although coronavirus had been traced to an animal market in Wuhan by late January, the WHO claimed in early February that it did not know the source of the outbreak.
“Having the genetic sequence of the #2019nCoV has enabled the rapid development of tests, and as I mentioned yesterday, we have shipped 250,000 tests to more than 70 laboratories around the world, and we’re training lab workers to use them”-@DrTedros
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 6, 2020
As of February 11, the WHO was still casting doubt on assertions that the virus originated from animals in China.
The route of transmission of 2019-nCoV to humans at the start of this event remains unclear.
The current most likely hypothesis is that an intermediary host animal has played a role in the transmission.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 11, 2020
On February 14, the WHO tweeted that the body’s director, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, had pushed back against critics who denounced him for commending China’s response to the virus.
Dr. Tedros told reporters that day:
Too much has been written & said about my praise for [China]. I have given credit where it’s due & I will continue to do that, as I would for any country that fights an outbreak aggressively at its source to protect its own people & the world, even at a great cost to itself.
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