(USA Features) Lead coronavirus task force health official Dr. Anthony Fauci said Saturday that the Chinese Communist government mislead the world about when the coronavirus outbreak actually began in that country.
Beijing, Fauci told Fox News, said that the virus only spread from animal to human, but in fact it was spreading human-to-human much sooner than the government said.
He also noted that as the disease spread to more people in mid-January in China’s Hubei Province and Wuhan city, the government said that human contagion was minimal.
Both assertions were “clearly not correct … that was misinformation right from the beginning,” he said.
In fact, the disease was highly contagious and it was spread to Europe and the United States via infected Chinese travelers, in December and January, Fauci said.
“Early on we did not get correct information and the incorrect information was propagated right from the beginning,” he said.
Republicans have accused the Chinese government of concealing the dangerous nature of the virus. And White House officials, including President Trump, have said they doubt that Beijing has accurately reported infection and death rates of its own citizens.
In addition, the Trump administration noted that as the communist government was hiding the effects of COVID-19, it was buying up medical supplies around the world and stockpiling them.
The government also threatened eight Chinese doctors after they discovered the deadly virus, forcing them into silence.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, relied on the Chinese disinformation to downplay COVID-19’s threat to America.
“This is not a major threat for the people in the United States, and this is not something the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about,” he told NewsMax as late as Jan. 21, when the virus had already begun spreading on the West Coast.
“It was in January at a time when the Chinese were saying first that it was only going from an animal to a human and then when there were human cases that looked like they were … inefficiently transmitted. It was at that time in mid-January that we made the statement if, in fact, that’s true … then, in fact, it may not be something that is of a major threat outside of China.
“When it became clear … that it was very, very contagious in the sense of easily transmittable and it also had a high degree of morbidity and mortality — at that point, it became very clear we were in for a problem,” he added.