Republican congressman Dan Crenshaw said the United States has been “wronged” by China’s reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak and would sue the country for damages.
The Texas representative told Fox News on Monday night that Americans would “find somebody to sue” over the novel coronavirus pandemic as he pointed the finger at Beijing authorities.
He also criticised the Chinese government of spreading “false talking points” about the virus earlier this year, including its original claim that the disease was not transferred human-to-human.
Rep. Crenshaw appeared on Hannity four days after he and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas introduced a bill that would open Chinese authorities to civil suits in the U.S.
Under the bill dubbed the “Holding the Chinese Communist Party Accountable for Infecting Americans Act of 2020,” the United States Code would be updated to include a section opening up foreign states to damage suits related to injury and death.
Speaking on Fox News last night, Rep. Crenshaw said: “They allowed this virus to spread, they knew it was spread. They spread false talking points like ‘oh it won’t spread from human-to-human contact.’ They didn’t let scientists in to investigate.
“They disappeared doctors who tried to blow the whistle. The number of deaths and infections they hid, you know when dropped this bill last Friday, that was the same day the Chinese government said ‘oh we underestimated by about 50 percent the number of deaths.’
“They didn’t underestimate. They knew. This is China, they keep track of every single person in Wuhan. Of course they knew. So now we know how they have wronged us, Americans are going to do what Americans do when we feel an injustice is leveled against us: we’re going to find somebody to sue.”
Appearing on Hannity alongside his colleague, Sen. Cotton said their bill was aimed at making China “pay” for its coverup, but added that the U.S. could also consider sanctions against Beijing.
“China has to pay for this,” Sen. Cotton said. “One way to pay is the law that Dan and I have introduced.”
Newsweek has contacted the Chinese embassy for comment and will update this article with any response.
Rep. Crenshaw is not the only GOP lawmaker calling for China to be held financially accountable for the spread of COVID-19.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) brought a resolution before Congress in March that called for an investigation into Chinese authorities as well as compensation. Sen. Lindsey Graham has also called for the world to “send China a bill” for the pandemic.
“I think we ought to hold them accountable for the losses we’ve all incurred and the deaths that have been incurred. I think China has to be financially held accountable,” Sen. Rick Scott of Florida told Newsweek earlier this month.
President Donald Trump told reporters at a coronavirus briefing on Saturday that he believed China should face consequences if authorities were “knowingly responsible” for the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19
CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
- Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
- Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
- Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
- If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
- Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
Mask and glove usage
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.
- Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
- The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.