Taiwan Says It Tried to Warn the World About Coronavirus. Here’s What It Really Knew and When
MAY 19, 2020
When they heard about patients falling sick with a mysterious pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan on Dec. 31, Taiwan’s health officials fired off an email to the World Health Organization asking for more information.
This four-sentence inquiry has since become fodder for the political brawl between China and the U.S. and threatens to bruise the reputation of the U.N.’s health agency as it leads the fight against an unprecedented global pandemic.
Taiwanese and U.S. officials have seized on the email to argue the WHO ignored an early warning that the coronavirus could likely be transmitted between people. In the weeks following the Dec. 31 note, the WHO echoed Chinese officials that there was “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission”— even as cases began cropping up that raised suspicion of contagion.