Republican Lawmakers Call CDC Attention To “Suspicious” Virus Outbreak In China

Authored by Eva Fu via The Epoch Times,

Top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are calling for attention from U.S. health authorities on the “suspicious” clusters of viral infections and reports of pneumonia affecting Chinese children, warning that it would be “an abdication” of their duty for allowing the Chinese regime to “repeat its misdeeds from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In a Nov. 29 letter addressed to Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) director Mandy Cohen, who is set to testify before the committee’s oversight subcommittee on Thursday, the lawmakers underscored the Chinese regime’s repeated efforts to suppress information about the burgeoning COVID-19 crisis since it began to spread in China three years ago. Such actions by China have drawn criticism from international bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which, the lawmakers noted, “has long been criticized for being overly accommodating to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).”

The infections of children with respiratory illness and pneumonia in China have overwhelmed hospitals and alarmed the WHO, which is urging China to share data about the outbreak. Anecdotal reports have also indicated that children are transmitting the illness to other members of their family, including adults.

The Chinese authorities have responded by saying that they have detected no “unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations,” and only a “general increase in respiratory illnesses due to multiple known pathogens,” according to a WHO statement on Nov. 23. It cited Chinese authorities as further stating that “the rise in respiratory illness has not resulted in patient loads exceeding hospital capacities.”

The three Republican lawmakers—Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Brett Guthrie (R-Va.), and Morgan Griffith (R-Va.)—while expressing skepticism about WHO, are asking the CDC to step up.

“The American people should not have to rely on the unaccountable and untrustworthy WHO to communicate information about Chinese public health threats. Further, we cannot allow the CCP to block the CDC from accessing the information it needs to protect Americans and assist in appropriate public health response efforts,” they wrote in the letter.

They requested the CDC to brief the committee on a biweekly basis on the issue, and respond to a list of questions about the wave of respiratory illness in China by Dec. 13, including whether CDC has engaged with the Chinese counterparts regarding the outbreak issue, related details, and its plan of action.

“There’s no question that we should be taking a hard look at it and not not counting on them to give us the real facts,” Mr. Griffith, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, told The Epoch Times’s sister media NTD.

“We need to figure out what we need to do to protect ourselves from a disease that’s in China from coming here, if we can.”

From the early days of the pandemic, the CDC had tried to offer assistance to China. Letters The Epoch Times obtained showed that Dr. Robert Redfield, who was head of the CDC at the time, had attempted to arrange for a team of experts to fly to China to help identify the virus. The United States and allies made nearly 100 requests to China asking to offer assistance in the health crisis, but the regime rejected them all, according to David Asher, a former lead COVID-19 investigator at the U.S. State Department.

Now, concerns about overcrowded hospitals and long lines for seeing a doctor have led China’s top health body, the National Health Commission, to call for local clinics to increase their capacity.

Chinese People on Front Line

Chinese authorities haven’t provided any data on the current outbreak, but many schools are telling students to stay home because of the large number of sick children.

A woman from Yunnan Province in southwestern China said that her four children are all experiencing fever. One of them has had a fever for half a month, with pimples appearing on the face and their throat swelling up and festering.

“The doctor didn’t tell us much and prescribed us some drugs. We’ve been taking them, but there hasn’t been much effect,” she told The Epoch Times.

Beijing resident Ms. Lin said that her two children had become infected first, before spreading the illness to her and her husband.

At their school, parents have been asked to send digital requests for a leave of absence to a group chat monitored by teachers if their children become sick.

“Every day, we would see some children explaining why they can’t come to school,” she told The Epoch Times.

A majority of sick students are coughing. And even days after their symptoms go away, some of the children would start coughing again or develop fever soon after they returned to school, she said.



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