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Steve Daines Asks State Dept. to Investigate CCP’s ‘Culpability’ in Initially Downplaying Coronavirus

Senator Steve Daines (R., Mont.) speaks to a reporter in Washington, D.C., December 1, 2017. (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

Senator Steve Daines (R., Mont.) has asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate China’s role in covering up the initial outbreak of coronavirus as the world continues to battle the global pandemic.

“As you know, prior to China locking down Wuhan and Hubei Province on January 23, 2020, there were early indications that a SARS-type virus had jumped from an animal host and had begun to infect humans,” Daines wrote in the letter. “What is more alarming was that despite official denials, indications of human-to-human transmission were clearly evident by early January.”

He also slammed Chinese officials for “spreading baseless conspiracy theories” by suggesting the virus had originated in the U.S., calling it “a simplistic attempt to muddy the waters for those that are easily swayed or misinformed.”

“The American people deserve to have the information to truly understand why they are making the sacrifices that they are,” Daines stated. “Additionally, we must discover the truth about the origins of this disease in order to better prepare ourselves against another future pandemic.”

Daines is not the first U.S. lawmaker to call for an exposé into China’s initial handling of the virus, with Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) and Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) calling for an international investigation to determine how the government’s coverup hastened the emergence of a global pandemic last month. Senator Rick Scott (R., Fla.) has also said the World Health Organization needs “to be held accountable for their role in promoting misinformation and helping Communist China cover up a global pandemic.”

Recent reports have also suggested that a theory dismissed by China’s government, which linked the virus’s outbreak to the Wuhan Institute of Virology — China’s only infectious disease lab — may have something to it.

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