Coronavirus News Asia

US-China blame game a lose-lose proposition

The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the already sinking US-China relationship attributed to the two countries’ trade, technology and geopolitical wars.

The US is increasingly blaming China for the spread of the coronavirus, the damage it has done to the economy and the large number of deaths. Top American officials, including President Donald Trump, explicitly suggested that it was China’s fault for not telling the world of the virus’ severity, submitting “misinformation” and covering up the outbreak.

What’s more, US Senator Tom Cotton started the conspiracy theory that Covid-19 was manufactured in a lab near Wuhan, which might have been intentionally released to infect the general Chinese and world populations.

However, Chinese diplomat Zhao Lijian picked up on US journalist George Webb’s claim that the virus that causes Covid-19 might have been imported from the US by a military reservist during the Military World Games held in that Chinese city in October 2019.

Webb theorized that a reservist, Maatje Benassi, could have been infected with the virus, which allegedly leaked out of a biological-weapons lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, before it was shut down by the the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in July 2019.

The blame game appeared to be heating up, with both sides demanding investigations on whether the charges or conspiracy theories were true. Trump in some of his almost daily briefings on Covid-19 vowed to investigate the Wuhan Institute of Virology, from which US intelligence “sources” speculated the virus was released intentionally or accidentally.

Zhao and increasing numbers of Chinese officials and citizens demanded investigations into the health records of Benassi and other US military athletes at the Games reported to have had flu-like symptoms and those who died in the US between August and December 2019, just to mention two of the many questions the US needed to answer.

For its part, China accused the US (and the West in general) of squandering a two-month opportunity to act on its January 3 release of information that Covid-19 would spread rapidly.

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