China lied to the world about coronavirus outbreak, says former FDA commissioner

Scott Gottlieb also says China failed to act promptly and share information about the virus' molecular structure with the world.

The former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Sunday that China misled the rest of the world about the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview on Sunday that China lied about the extent of the coronavirus outbreak and urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to prepare a report on the repercussions of Beijing's alleged cover-up.

Scott Gottlieb
Wikimedia Commons

"China was not truthful with the world at the outset of this. Had they been more truthful with the world, which would have enabled them to be truthful with themselves, they might have actually been able to contain this entirely and there is some growing evidence to suggest that," Gottlieb told CBS News in an interview on "Face the Nation."

He also noted that China failed to act promptly and share information about the virus' molecular structure with the world, which could have helped develop a diagnostic test earlier.

WHO should file an action report

Gottlieb also urged the WHO to create an after-action report that specifically looks into what China hid from the world about the coronavirus outbreak and its role in the stymied global response to the deadly virus.

"As late as Jan. 20, they were still saying that there was no human-to-human transmission and the WHO was validating those claims on Jan. 14, sort of enabling the obfuscation from China," he added. "I think going forward the WHO needs to commit to an after-action report that specifically examines what China did and didn't tell the world and how that stymied the global response to this."

Trump to cut funding to WHO?

Gottlieb's comments came as a response to a question about whether it's the right time to cut funding to the WHO, as President Donald Trump and a number of Republicans have recently suggested.

"I don't think this is a time to defund the WHO given the fact that I think this is going to become an epidemic in the Southern hemisphere and other parts of the world that don't have resources to deal with this kind of a global issue, but the president raised a lot of valid concerns," Gottlieb said.

Trump is considering cutting funding to the WHO as he believes the organization has become too "China-centric" despite being one of the organization's largest financial backers. The President also said he believes the WHO likely knew about the danger of the outbreak earlier than it let on.

"They called it wrong. They missed the call. They could have called it months earlier. They would have known. They should have known. And they probably did know. So we'll be looking into that very carefully," Trump said on April 7.

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