Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Fox News on Sunday that the China’s communist government has repeatedly lied about the coronavirus, including the magnitude of the problem and where the virus originated.
Cotton, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Armed Services Committee, told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo that “the situation is very grave, in part because, as you say, China was lying from the beginning, and they’re still lying today, and also because there are so many unknowns about this virus, for example, how many people one person can infect once they have the virus, the extent to which it’s contagious before one is symptomatic, or the mortality rate.”
Cotton also said that China’s claim in January that the virus originated from an animal market was not true.
“This virus didn’t originate in the Wuhan animal market,” Cotton said. “Epidemiologists who are widely respected from China who have published a studied in the international journal The Lancet have demonstrated that several of the original cases didn’t have any contact with that food market.”
“The virus went into that food market before it came out of that food market. So, we don’t know where it originated,” Cotton continued. “But we do know that we have to get to the bottom of that. We also know that, just a few miles away from that food market is China’s only biosafety level four super laboratory that researches human infectious diseases.”
“Now, we don’t have evidence that this disease originated there, but, because of China’s duplicity and dishonesty from the beginning, we need to at least ask the question to see what the evidence says,” Cotton added. “And China right now is not giving any evidence on that question at all.”
Cotton noted that the United States has the same types of laboratories that are run by the military and are used for preventative purposes.
“China’s obviously very secretive about what happens at the Wuhan laboratory. We don’t know, again, where this virus originated. That’s why it’s so important that we at least ask the questions and get the evidence,” Cotton said. “But China continues to block our ability to ask those questions and get that evidence.”
At the end of January, Cotton said that the coronavirus was worse than Chernobyl for China’s communist government.
Cotton also said that China’s attempts to downplay the gravity of the situation made the outbreak much worse.
“The first cases indicated in early December, which meant that they were transmitted some time in November. China finally fessed up to the WHO on December 31. If they had taken action weeks earlier, not only might their own people have been better protected, but the entire world might have been better protected,” Cotton said. “This is just a pattern of Chinese dishonesty from the very beginning, which continues to this very day. Just a few days ago, we went from a situation where they were reporting only a couple hundred more cases or maybe 1,000 more cases a day to almost 14,000 cases in a single day.”
“That wasn’t the result of any scientific discovery,” Cotton concluded. “That was a political decision to finally reveal what they knew to be true. Yet they are still covering up, in all likelihood, the number of cases and deaths from coronavirus inside of China.”
I want to commend @realDonaldTrump for shutting down travel from China. That was the most important preventative step we could have taken. WATCH my interview with @MariaBartiromo on coronavirus: https://t.co/aPa347oFQk
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) February 16, 2020