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Tipsheet

What China Has Done to Starve U.S. Hospitals of Key Medical Equipment is Unforgivable

Yan Yan/Xinhua via AP

China lied and people died. In December, China ordered its scientists to destroy samples that showed they had a pneumonia-like virus on their hands. They strong-armed doctors from trying to spread the word, kept medical staff in the dark, and prevented new cases of what we know was the Wuhan Coronavirus, or COVID-19, from being reported. And now doctors who tried to raise awareness have vanished. Vloggers documenting the situation on the ground have also disappeared. China allowed Chinese New Year to be celebrated which led to scores of people being exposed. In all, some 5 million people had left Wuhan by the time the Chinese government got its act together. It was too late. And now, their incompetence caused this pandemic. 

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The world economy has ground to a halt. And while we’re dealing with this nonsense, China has also reportedly tried to corner the market on personal protection equipment which is essential for health care workers around the world. The Trump administration is fully aware of the situation and is mulling legal action. The New York Post quoted one senior lawyer said China’s actions concerning this alleged hoarding is akin to a first-degree murder charge (via NY Post):

Leading US manufacturers of medical safety gear told the White House that China prohibited them from exporting their products from the country as the coronavirus pandemic mounted — even as Beijing was trying to “corner the world market” in personal protective equipment, The Post has learned.

Now, the Trump administration is weighing legal action against China over its alleged actions, a lawyer for President Trump said Sunday.

“In criminal law, compare this to the levels that we have for murder,” said Jenna Ellis, a senior legal adviser to Trump’s re-election campaign.

“People are dying. When you have intentional, cold-blooded, premeditated action like you have with China, this would be considered first-degree murder.”

Ellis said the options under consideration include filing a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights or working “through the United Nations.”

Executives from 3M and Honeywell told US officials that the Chinese government in January began blocking exports of N95 respirators, booties, gloves and other supplies produced by their factories in China, according to a senior White House official.

China paid the manufacturers their standard wholesale rates, but prohibited the vital items from being sold to anyone else, the official said.

Around the same time that China cracked down on PPE exports, official data posted online shows that it imported 2.46 billion pieces of “epidemic prevention and control materials” between Jan. 24 and Feb. 29, the White House official said.

[…]

Michael Wessell, a founding member of the federal US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, confirmed the situation and said the Chinese maneuvering had left American hospitals “starved of PPE to fight this crisis.”

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As of today, U.S. deaths from Wuhan coronavirus infection are rapidly approaching 10,000. There are over 336,000 cases, most of which reside in New York City and the tri-state area. President Trump and his Wuhan virus task force have worked hard to increase testing and create better models that are currently being shipped out. Ventilators are now being manufactured as quickly as possible. Distilleries are now making hand sanitizer. My Pillow is now shifting their production to medical masks, making anywhere from 10,000-50,000 masks a day. American business has answered the call. Retired army doctors have also answered the call. But it makes it all the more maddening when we hear stories about how the Chinese are just bo jangling around because they’re either West-averse or insufferably greedy. 

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