If Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited, according to an analysis by Axios.
The analysis comes amid a Times of London report that Chinese scientists destroyed lab research on the coronavirus and suppressed news in the early weeks of the outbreak, notes the Legal Insurrection blog.
The latest figures for the global pandemic are 241,563 cases, 9,882 deaths and 86,689 recoveries.
Axios cited a study published in March by the University of Southampton in England finding that immediate action by Chinese authorities could have reduced the number of cases by 95%.
A timeline compiled by Axios of the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak shows a cover-up by Chinese communist officials during which actions were delayed.
It came from information reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the South China Morning Post and other sources.
Meanwhile, an independent, investigative journalism team at Caixin Global cited by the Times of London reported details of the cover-up.
In late December last year, Chinese laboratories identified a highly infectious mystery virus but were ordered to stop tests, destroy samples and suppress the news, reporters found.
The Times said a regional health official at the center of the outbreak in Wuhan demanded the destruction of the lab samples on Jan. 1.
At that time, China insisted there was no human-to-human transmission of the virus before acknowledging the truth three weeks later.
On Jan. 3, China’s top medical authority, the National Health Commission, issued a gag order instructing laboratories not to release any information and to hand over or destroy the samples.
A team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that was sent to Wuhan on Jan. 8 was deliberately not informed that medical staff already had been infected by patients.
The Times noted it was a clear confirmation that the disease was contagious.