In late December 2019, Chinese laboratories identified a mystery virus as a highly infections new pathogen.
The Times reported that the laboratories received orders to stop tests, destroy samples, and put the clamps on the news.
In Wuhan, the center of the outbreak, a regional health official requested that lab samples establishing the causes of an unexplained viral pneumonia be destroyed on January 1, 2020. China did not recognize that the virus was spreading from person-to-person transmission until three more weeks passed.
Caixin Global, a reputable independent publication, demonstrated evidence of how large the cover-up was in the first few weeks. In this time frame, China lost the opportunity to control the outbreak.
Chinese government sensors have been rapidly erasing the report from the Chinese internet.
According to the Caixin report, several genomics companies were able to sequence the Wuhan virus by December 27 from samples from patients who became sick in Wuhan.
There was a startling resemblance between the new virus and the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus that claimed the lives of 800 people from 2002 to 2003. However, this news was only shared with a small group of medical professionals and party officials.
The laboratory findings were sent to officials in Beijing at the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). The information was supposed to have alerted national health leaders about a looming crisis. Instead, on January 3, the National Health Commission, China’s leading medical authority, issued its own gagging orders. Laboratories were instructed to not release any information and to turn over or destroy the samples.
When a CDC team was sent to Wuhan on January 8, 2020 it was intentionally not informed about medical staff being infected by patients, thus confirming that the disease was contagious.
Officials led the cover-up in Wuhan as provincial party leaders prepared to hold an annual meeting. The city then continued to go along by holding a pot-luck dinner for 40,000 families to celebrate the lunar new year.
It wasn’t until January 20, 2020 that there was an announcement that the disease was being transmitted between humans. This revelation was made in an interview with Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory health expert who led the charge against SARS.
Wuhan was placed on lockdown on January 23, 2020, as the Chinese government scrambled to control the disease’s expansion.