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Tipsheet

Chinese Media Says Country Could Withhold Medication from U.S.

Cheng Min/Xinhua via AP

The United States could be at the mercy of Communist China when it comes to receiving drugs and raw materials needed to fight the Wuhan Virus, according to the state media of Communist China.

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Xinhua, the state-run media agency, reported that the United States' reliance on China for pharmaceutical exports gave the communist nation the ability to send the U.S. "into the mighty sea" of the Wuhan virus. In the same article, China was lauded for its own handling of the novel virus.

Chinese health officials have claimed that while more than 80,000 people had been infected by the virus which originated in Wuhan, more than 60,000 have recovered. They reported that just over 3,100 people died because of infection, mostly people of advanced age or with underlying conditions. 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) confirmed that the United States was too reliant on products made in China to produce drugs that could help fight the burgeoning pandemic within the U.S. Speaking to Fox News, Rubio said of China's threat, "It's a tremendous amount of leverage." The senator indicated that should they make good on their promise to withhold exports, the consequences could be devastating for the U.S. 

Though the United States is a leader in research of medical treatments for novel illnesses, materials and manufacturing needed for new medications can only be sourced from China at the moment. Currently, China produces between 80-90% of antibiotics used in the U.S.

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Further, Rubio said that the United States being in a position of need made it challenging to use a firm hand with the communist nation as they normally would in trade and export disputes. "They can threaten to cut us off from our pharmaceutical supplies, they could trigger a domestic problem here that would make it difficult for us to confront them."

China, who has been hailing themselves as a global hero for assisting other countries fight the virus that began in their own nation, scorned the United States for not asking for their help. One editorial published in Xinhua was particularly critical of the U.S. "We should say righteously that the U.S. owes China an apology, the world owes China a thank you."

With nearly 140,000 confirmed cases of Wuhan virus world-wide, China reported the largest number by far with 80,000 at the height of their contagion. Italy, which has been scrambling to contain the virus in their own nation, requested assistance from China who complied by sending medical personal, "experts" in the Wuhan virus, and supplies. 

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio requested of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the communist nation send assistance as the 60 million people of Italy remained under quarantine as the virus spread, threatening vulnerable demographics. The average age of Italian citizens is among the highest in the world and the country has seen a spike in mortality since the Wuhan virus first appeared. More than 15,000 cases have been confirmed in Italy, with more than 1,000 deaths reported. 

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Head of the Italian Red Cross Francesco Rocca expressed gratitude at the arrival of the requested supplied and assistance. "In this moment of great stress, of great difficulty, we are relieved to have this arrival of supplies. It is true that it will help only temporarily, but it is still important," he said. It was not immediately made clear what, if any, financial transaction occurred to secure the arrival of medical assistance from China. 

The World Health Organization, which declared the Wuhan virus to be a global pandemic on Wednesday, accepted a $20 million donation from the Chinese Communist Party, as reported by Xinhua. 

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