Missouri is suing the Chinese government and other top institutions for the role they played in the coronavirus pandemic and the effects it has had on the state, accusing the country of covering up information, silencing whistleblowers and doing little to stop the spread of the disease, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Tuesday.
At least 6,105 people have been confirmed to have the virus in Missouri and at least 229 have died, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University.
Schmitt, in his official role as attorney general of Missouri, filed the civil lawsuit in federal court in the eastern district of Missouri.
Legal experts have said the lawsuit faces an uphill battle because China is protected by sovereign immunity. CNN is reaching out to the Chinese government for comment.
Missouri’s lawsuit alleges that while the Chinese medical community had indications of human-to-human transmission of the virus, they did not inform the World Health Organization when they first reported the outbreak.
It also alleges Chinese leaders did little to curb spread of the virus, still allowing thousands of people to travel to and out of Wuhan.
“In mid-January, on or around January 16, despite knowing the risks of doing so, Wuhan leaders hosted a potluck dinner for 40,000 residents, increasing the potential spread of the virus,” it says. “Defendants allowed these massive public gatherings and massive exodus from Wuhan despite knowing the risks of COVID-19, including the risk of human-to-human transmission.”
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