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Missouri sues China over coronavirus pandemic, becomes first state to file suit

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt (Cocap31/WikiCommons)

The Show Me State is the first in the U.S. to sue China over the spread of the coronavirus.

lawsuit posted by KBMC news in Missouri charges the Chinese government and Chinese Communist Party were not transparent in reporting the growing pandemic, which has infected at least 5,807 Missourians and more than 776,000 Americans, killing nearly 42,000, according to the CDC.

The filing reportedly seeks seeks relief on one count of public nuisance in addition to alleging abnormally dangerous activities and breach of duty.

The civil suit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt alleges “An appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction by Chinese authorities unleashed this pandemic.”

He added that “During the critical weeks of the initial outbreak, 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.”

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The coronavirus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China, as early as November though it’s unclear what Chinese officials knew and when the potential dangers and questions about what they reported to the World Health Organization. On Jan. 31, the Chinese government reported “a pneumonia of unknown cause” to WHO.

The international medical consortium collected and analyzed data, then declared coronavirus a “public health emergency of international concern” on Jan. 30. The U.S. imposed travel restrictions on flights from from China soon after.

While President Trump has questioned the WHO’s response to the pandemic and Democrats have faulted Trump’s handling of the crisis, Missouri’s civil suit targets China.

“Defendants are responsible for the enormous death, suffering, and economic losses they inflicted on the world, including Missourians, and they should be held accountable,” it accuses.

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© 2020 New York Daily News