Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a lawsuit against the Chinese government for allegedly running an “appalling campaign of deceit, concealment, misfeasance, and inaction” amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The lawsuit, was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the State of Missouri, and alleges that the People’s Republic of China, the Communist Party of China and other governing bodies in the country misrepresented and concealed the seriousness of the outbreak from the rest of the world during the period of December 2019 through January 2020.
“During the critical weeks of the initial outbreak, Chinese authorities deceived the public, suppressed crucial information, arrested whistle blowers, 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,” according to a copy of the lawsuit.
In Missouri, there are at least 5,807 confirmed cases and 177 deaths, according to the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services.
Schmitt is seeking the recovery for “the enormous loss of life, human suffering, and economic turmoil experienced by all.”
“The COVID-19 outbreak has caused hardship in Missouri and across the globe. Death, isolation from sick and dying loved ones, massive unemployment, economic dislocation, uncertainty, and trillions of dollars of economic losses,” according to a statement from Schmitt’s office. “China should be held legally responsible.”
The Chinese government has not yet responded to the lawsuit.