Missouri sues China over pandemic, claiming the country "deceived the public" and "suppressed crucial information"
As the state of Missouri deals with over 6,000 cases of novel coronavirus, it's in the process of suing the Chinese government and other top institutions for the supposed role they played in the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it's had on the midwestern state.
According to CNN, state officials are accusing China of covering up information, silencing whistleblowers, and doing little to stop the spread of the virus.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed the civil lawsuit in federal court in the eastern district of Missouri and officially announced the lawsuit on Tuesday.
Schmitt, helming a lawsuit that's the first of its kind, filed paperwork that claims, "Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistleblowers, denied human-to-human transmission in the face of mounting evidence, destroyed critical medical research, permitted millions of people to be exposed to the virus, and even hoarded personal protective equipment—thus causing a global pandemic that was unnecessary and preventable."
Legal experts have said the lawsuit faces an uphill battle because China is protected by sovereign immunity.
Missouri's lawsuit goes on to claim that while the Chinese medical community had indications of human-to-human transmission of the virus, it didn't relay this information to the World Health Organization when they first reported the outbreak.
The lawsuit also alleges Chinese leaders did little to control the spread of COVID-19, still allowing thousands of people to travel to and out of Wuhan.
"In mid-January, on or around January 16, despite knowing the risks of doing so, Wuhan leaders hosted a potluck dinner for 40,000 residents, increasing the potential spread of the virus," it says. "Defendants allowed these massive public gatherings and massive exodus from Wuhan despite knowing the risks of COVID-19, including the risk of human-to-human transmission."
The filing also outlines how officials initially cracked down on medical professionals who posted information about the virus, including Dr. Li Wenliang, who was accused of rumor-mongering by the Wuhan police after sharing information about a new illness with his medical school alumni group. Wenliang later died of the virus.
The state also alleges China hoarded PPE while concealing the outbreak and that the small amounts they have released have been "faulty."
As of Wednesday morning, Missouri has lost a total of 229 of its residents to COVID-19.
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