Study Trump cited in his latest attack on WHO does NOT EXIST, says editor-in-chief of prestigious medical journal
US President Donald Trump cited a study supposedly published in the Lancet medical journal as he once again accused the WHO of ignoring early Covid-19 warnings. Now, the Lancet chief editor says there has been no such publication.
“Dear President Trump, you cite the Lancet in your attack on WHO. Please let me correct the record,” Dr. Richard Horton, the editor-in-chief of the prestigious British medical journal, wrote on Twitter on Monday. Trump referred to the outlet in his latest letter to the World Health Organization head, Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus, in which he warned that Washington would permanently stop funding the organization if it fails to “commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days.”
Dear President Trump - You cite The Lancet in your attack on WHO. Please let me correct the record. The Lancet did not publish any report in early December, 2019, about a virus spreading in Wuhan. The first reports we published were from Chinese scientists on Jan 24, 2020. pic.twitter.com/Vx6mDpZJHx— richard horton (@richardhorton1) May 19, 2020
In the scathing letter, Trump particularly lashed out at the WHO over its supposedly continuous disregard of “credible reports” on the spread of the novel coronavirus in December 2019, including those allegedly published in the Lancet.Horton said, however, that the journal did not publish a single report on the issue at that time.
“The first reports we published were from Chinese scientists on Jan 24, 2020,” he noted. The journal also issued a special statement reviewing Trump’s claim, which said that the first scientific reports about the human transition of Covid-19 were published in the Lancet on the same January 2020 date.
“This statement is factually incorrect,” the Lancet said in a statement referring to Trump’s claims and allegations, which the journal described as “damaging to the efforts to strengthen international cooperation to control the pandemic.”
Pr Trump claims we published reports in Dec 2019 claiming a virus was spreading in Wuhan. Untrue. The first paper describing 41 patients with COVID-19 was published on Jan 24. That paper identified symptom onset of the first Wuhan patient as Dec 1. No cover up. Full transparency. pic.twitter.com/BISAgbp0sE— richard horton (@richardhorton1) May 19, 2020
Trump has so far not responded to Horton’s remarks. Some US media figures, including the Atlantic and New York Times contributor, Zeynep Tufekci, rushed to defend Washington’s narrative. The “cover-up” happened before January 24, Tufekci – who is also an associate professor at the University of North Carolina – wrote in a comment about Horton’s tweet, suggesting that the Chinese authorities supposedly initially concealed the information about the human-to-human transition.
It is unlikely, though, that Horton’s remarks would change Trump’s position or dent his determination anyway. The US president has long been stepping up his attacks on the WHO, accusing it of colluding with Beijing in the epidemic cover-up and misleading the rest of the world, including America.Also on rt.com ‘No time to waste’: Trump gives WHO 30 days to make ‘major improvements’ before US PERMANENTLY freezes funding
He also called his latest letter to Ghebreyesus – the very same that Horton now challenged – “self-explanatory.” Yet, the message does not contain any clear guidelines on what exactly the WHO should do for the US to resume the organization’s funding. So far, Ghebreyesus said the organization would conduct a review of its “transparency” and “accountability” amid the pandemic as soon as possible.
China, which has repeatedly dismissed all accusations leveled by the US, said Trump’s attacks on Beijing and the WHO are nothing but attempts to shift the blame for the devastation the Covid-19 outbreak inflicted in the US, which remains the worst affected nation with more than 1.5 million confirmed cases and over 90,000 coronavirus-associated deaths.
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