Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said the number of coronavirus cases in China spiked in kind of unpredictable patterns, accusing its ruling party of managing the flow of information about the deadly virus.
During an appearance on Fox News’s The Ingraham Angle on Friday, Feb. 21, Cotton raised the question should the world believe in what China is saying about its coronavirus outbreak.
“We know that it didn’t start in the Wuhan food market. That was the original story of the Chinese Communist Party,” Cotton said, standing by his earlier suggestion that the coronavirus may have originated in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan, China.
Cotton said the most likely hypothesis is that the virus occurred naturally, but “given the proximity of that laboratory to the food market, it is only reasonable that we ask the Chinese Communist Party to be open and transparent about the kind of research they were conducting there and the safety protocols and practices they had in place.”
“Until China provides the evidence we cannot know for sure where this virus originated,” the Cotton said.
Cotton said his distrust was not in the Chinese doctors but the communist regime.
“I do not have any confidence in those party apparatchiks allowing China’s scientists or their doctors to speak freely to anyone outside of China, especially officials in the United States government,” Cotton said. “That’s why we’ve seen the numbers of this coronavirus continue to spike in kind of strange, unpredictable patterns.”
“Those aren’t newly discovered cases,” Cotton said, adding, “Because China is carefully managing the flow of information about this virus.”
Cotton made his remarks after China authorities said on Friday that the number of newly confirmed cases of coronavirus has gradually decreased across the country, “showing a positive signal that the epidemic situation has improved.”
China reported a sharp fall in new cases and deaths on Saturday, but new infections continued to rise in other countries, raising doubts over the new numbers released by the country.
The National Health Commission announced it received only 397 new cases of confirmed infections and 109 deaths on Friday, down from 889 new cases and 118 deaths recorded in the preceding 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the numbers surged elsewhere, with outbreaks worsening in South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Lebanon, according to Reuters.
South Korean authorities said on Saturday the number of new infections had doubled to 433, and the tally could rise significantly as more than 1,000 people reported flu-like symptoms.
Iran, which had no reported cases earlier this week, has now detected 10 new cases of the virus, taking the number to 28 infections and five deaths.
Japan confirmed 14 new cases on Saturday, while Italy found the second death of coronavirus as an outbreak spreads to the country with 30 cases reported so far.
Globally, nearly 78,000 people have been infected and nearly 2,400 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.