Daily US Times: The US state of Missouri is suing the Chinese government and other top institutions for the role they played in the coronavirus pandemic and the effects it has had on the state, accusing the country of silencing whistleblowers, covering up information and doing little to stop the spread of the disease.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced the move on Tuesday.
According to numbers from Johns Hopkins University, at least 6,105 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Missouri and at least 229 have died.
Mr Schmitt filed the civil lawsuit in federal court in the eastern district of Missouri.
This is the first action of its kind against China. The lawsuit claims “Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, permitted millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even hoarded personal protective equipment—thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable.”
The lawsuit faces an uphill battle, legal experts say, because China is protected by sovereign immunity.
The Chinese government has made no comment in the development yet.
Missouri’s lawsuit alleges that China did not act accordingly when the Chinese medical community had indications of human-to-human transmission of the virus. The government did not inform the World Health Organization when they first reported the outbreak.
It also alleges Chinese leaders did little to curb or reduce the spread of the virus, still allowing thousands of people to travel to and out of Wuhan.
“In mid-January, on or around January 16, despite knowing the risks of doing so, Wuhan leaders hosted a potluck dinner for 40,000 residents, increasing the potential spread of the virus. Defendants allowed these massive public gatherings and massive exodus from Wuhan despite knowing the risks of COVID-19, including the risk of human-to-human transmission,” the lawsuit says.
It was also mentioned in the lawsuit that also how officials initially cracked down on medical professionals who posted information about the virus, including Dr. Li Wenliang. Dr. Li was one of the first to understand the virus and informed it with his colleagues. He was later accused of rumor-mongering by the Wuhan police. The doctor later died of the virus.
Missouri also alleges China hoarded PPE while concealing the outbreak and that the small amounts they have released have been “faulty.”
According to the lawsuit, those, among other actions taken by Chinese officials had a massive toll on human life and health and has led to “enormous” economic disruptions across the world.