- - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Joe Biden’s Election Day ace card was pinning responsibility for America’s devastating COVID-19 death count on Donald Trump. The ruination wrought by the virus here, though, was the result of the cause over there, in China. The United States ought not to allow responsibility for this man-made disaster to simply recede in the rear-view mirror of history. A President Biden must make certain that it doesn’t — by holding China accountable for its role in the calamity. A signature “C’mon, man” or two won’t do.

Nearly a year has passed since the coronavirus reached pandemic proportions. The statistics measure its impact: more than 1.4 million dead worldwide, and upward of 268,000 in the U.S. A sharpening spike in new cases across the developed world threatens to send those figures soaring. Officialdom reacts with fresh lockdowns and quarantines, crushing commerce and hope in the process.

Meanwhile, China skips along its primrose, mostly virus-free path. COVID-19 fatalities in the nation of 1.4 billion: 4,743. As a civilized people, Americans do not wish misfortune on others, but the relatively mild effects of the coronavirus at its roots, compared to its devastation elsewhere, invites suspicion of malice.

The tightly controlled communist nation has only reinforced distrust by its attempts to divert blame for allowing the deadly virus to escape its source in the sprawling metropolis of Wuhan. It has, at various times, accused the United States and Europe of spreading the virus while resisting an impartial investigation. Leaked documents obtained by CNN revealing more infection cases than China reported in February only add to skepticism.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which initially bought into Chinese propaganda claiming COVID-19 was no threat to humans, is only now cutting through the smokescreen obscuring the pandemic’s origin during its initial phase of inquiry. “It is clear from a public health perspective that you start your investigation where the human cases first emerged and the astute clinicians in Wuhan picked up the first cluster of unusual, atypical pneumonia,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Program during a press briefing last month.

For his part, Mr. Biden struck a tough tone toward China for its culpability during his presidential campaign, and absurdly accused President Trump of being soft on Beijing. But when the president withdrew from the WHO owing to its lax coronavirus response, the former vice president reversed course and vowed a Biden administration would rejoin the organization. That would not be an unreasonable course of action, eventually — if the WHO succeeds in redeeming its reputation by accomplishing an impartial probe into the virus’ source.

In the meantime, a President Biden would be wise to maintain his predecessor’s stern approach to China and prepare to sanction the regime for lost lives and property. Mailing in a response to the devastation, whether due to malice or negligence, won’t suffice.

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