Jim Baird column sig

Over the past year and a half, we have all experienced the devastating impacts of the global pandemic. Around the world and in our own communities, many have lost loved ones and faced dramatic disruptions that threatened their livelihoods.

The data speaks to the true severity of the pandemic: Over 190 million people have been infected, more than 4 million have died, and trillions of dollars have been lost from the global economy.

Since the virus was first discovered in late 2019, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials have withheld important information and downplayed the severity of the virus. Now, as more information emerges, we must hold China accountable for its role in the pandemic.

As early as November 2019, several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick with coronavirus-like symptoms. CCP officials silenced and even punished numerous scientists who tried to warn the international community about the danger of the virus.

These first weeks proved especially critical to global health officials’ ability to contain the virus. A report from the University of Southampton found that if interventions in China could have been conducted just three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 95 percent.

In the months following these initial cases, the Chinese Communist Party and World Health Organization continued to promote inaccurate information and downplay the severity of the virus.

As American companies began developing vaccines for COVID-19, hackers affiliated with the Chinese government targeted companies like Moderna with cyberattacks. In recent months, further ransomware attacks on American critical infrastructure by Chinese and Russian hackers have exacerbated the pain inflicted on the American economy.

It’s time to recognize the Chinese Communist Party as the true threat that it is. As more evidence comes to light, we have the responsibility to hold China accountable for their actions. The unfortunate reality is that tens of thousands of lives could have been saved had it not been for the deception and recklessness of the Chinese Communist Party.

Despite mounting evidence that suggests foul play, Democrats and the Biden Administration have no plans to hold China accountable for their role in the spread of COVID-19 and the devastation they have brought upon the global economy.

House Republicans recently announced an eight-point plan to hold China accountable for their role in the pandemic. This plan aims to increase transparency through legislation requiring the declassification of information related to the origins of COVID-19 and prohibiting future gain of function research conducted in or with China.

It also seeks justice for Americans affected by the pandemic through sanctions on those associated with the CCP and by waiving sovereign immunity so families of those who have died from COVID-19 can file suit against the Chinese government.

Far too many have been affected by the pandemic, and the American families who have lost loved ones deserve answers. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

We have a responsibility to thoroughly investigate the origins of the pandemic not only to give the American families still mourning peace, but to help us prevent a pandemic of similar proportions from happening again.

Jim Baird is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Indiana’s 4th Congressional District.

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