China largely to blame for COVID costing America $18 TRILLION

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Once-thriving businesses at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Florida, are boarded up and deserted amid the coronavirus pandemic on Jan. 30, 2021. (Photo by Joe Kovacs)
Once-thriving businesses at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, Florida, are boarded up and deserted amid the coronavirus pandemic on Jan. 30, 2021. (Photo by Joe Kovacs)

The Heritage Foundation’s Nonpartisan Commission on China and COVID-19 has released a new report showcasing the dire consequences the COVID-19 pandemic had on the U.S. economy, which has cost upwards of $18 trillion.

While placing the blame for the outbreak on the Chinese government, analysts state that, as of December 2023, the pandemic had affected the U.S. economy in several different ways. This included the deaths of Americans, lost income and lasting negative effects on education and mental health.

Former member of Congress and Chairman of the Nonpartisan Commission on China and COVID-19, John Ratcliffe said in the foreword the purpose of the report was to “review the facts and circumstances” surrounding the pandemic and to make recommendations to U.S. officials to hold China accountable.

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According to the report, excess deaths in the U.S. cost $8.6 trillion; lost income cost the economy more than $1.8 trillion; chronic conditions such as “long COVID” cost $6 trillion; mental health had losses of $1 trillion; and education lost approximately $435 billion – pushing the total over $18 trillion, around 13% of the U.S. economy’s total GDP.

The report further notes that during early days of the outbreak, the Chinese government attempted to cover up information about the disease from the scientific community, its own population and the world – including destroying samples, records, imprisoning journalists and blocking international investigations into the pandemic’s origins.

“The Commission’s report does not rule out that many other governments, institutions and individuals may have played contributing roles in the pandemic, but it finds that China has been in a league uniquely of its own in its active and aggressive opposition to honesty, transparency and accountability regarding the virus and its spread. This behavior by the Chinese government, more than anything else, was the proximal origin of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the report concludes.

Analysts found multiple legal grounds on which the Chinese government and certain Chinese corporate entities could be held accountable.

Outlined in the report are 17 policy recommendations for lawmakers to strengthen deterrence, accountability and transparency, adding that other countries should be encouraged to investigate.

“While the Commission analyzes the pandemic mostly in the context of the costs to the United States and what the United States can do to hold China to account, its conclusions are not limited to the United States. We encourage other countries to use the model created by this Commission to investigate the human and economic costs of the pandemic to their own societies and explore how they too can hold China accountable for its actions,” the report states.

The commission compiled a list of recommendations for Congress to consider in order to hold China accountable – including establishing a bipartisan national COVID commission, creating a bipartisan reparations or compensation task force, facilitating the filing of civil claims against China, decoupling the U.S. government and commercial supply chains from Chinese state-owned companies, and auditing all U.S. government funding for biomedical research activities in China.

“The fact of the matter is that the Chinese government did not act responsibly or transparently. They covered up highly pertinent information about COVID-19 – even including when and where the disease began – from their own public, the scientific community and the world. The Chinese government destroyed evidence, actively gagged their own scientists, jailed journalists for the crime of asking questions, and blocked attempts by the international community to investigate the origins of COVID-19. It engaged in these and other acts despite being a signatory to an international agreement that requires them to notify the World Health Organization of such a public health emergency accurately and in a timely manner,” the report said.

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