Throughout the pandemic, Tennesseans followed the advice of public health officials and international bodies like the World Health Organization. In spite of the devastating costs, we shut down our businesses and re-ordered our lives. By April 2020, Tennessee’s unemployment rate had reached a record high of 15.5%, and by March of 2021, more than 84,000 jobs had evaporated. Now we know that while we were holed up in our homes, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) operatives were covering up the origins of COVID-19, and those same health officials in whom we placed our trust were complicit in Beijing’s deception.
The story of this deceit begins long before COVID-19 spread to our shores. Under the guise of scientific advancement, Chinese researchers in Wuhan were experimenting with the lethality of coronaviruses using US-taxpayer funds. China knew their work manipulating genetic sequences was dangerous, yet they recklessly chose to continue. In November of 2019, scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized with a mysterious illness. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaped into action, silencing whistleblowers, destroying evidence, and hoarding medical supplies.
It’s no surprise that the nation that misled the globe on the SARS epidemic employed the same tactics with COVID-19 nearly two decades later. This time, they enlisted the WHO to run a PR campaign on their behalf. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus applauded the “transparency” of China’s response and even pursued a surface-level investigation with CCP-picked scientists to back up their false claims. The WHO was already dependent on the CCP for funding and resources, so their insistence that a lab leak was “extremely unlikely” was far from unexpected.
It wasn’t just the WHO misleading the globe. Director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr. Anthony Fauci was well aware of China’s dangerous research and in private emails raised concerns about their modifications to the coronavirus, yet he publically parroted the Beijing-backed WHO’s wet market theory. Dr. Fauci is the classic example of a bureaucrat who dug himself in too deep; only this time, his deception put American lives at risk.
The families of nearly 600,000 Americans killed by this virus deserve transparency. We deserve to know how President Biden will hold the Chinese Communist Party, the World Health Organization, and public health officials like Fauci to account. Last month, I urged the White House to begin a thorough and unbiased investigation into the origin of COVID-19. But, I know that is just a starting point for a solution
The United States relies on China for lifesaving medicines, telecom equipment, and defense supplies. China’s grip on the WHO is even stronger, with WHO raking in millions of dollars from China in exchange for influence over the agency. This global reliance on China cannot continue to drive our diplomacy. WHO’s deadly decisions and Dr. Fauci’s deception were the result of a deep-rooted dependency on China and fear of the CCP’s dominance. President Biden should be wary of making the same mistakes. As long as President Biden’s decisions are driven by fear of Xi Jinping’s retaliation, American lives and livelihoods will be at risk.
In the Volunteer State, our trust in public health leaders prompted us to put our lives on hold. The only way to restore that trust is to hold bad actors accountable. The Biden administration must recognize the sacrifice of Tennesseans and work to avenge the deadly wrongs of the Chinese Communist Party. Until they do, we will continue to demand accountability.