Damning accusations against China stem from an analysis conducted by Dr. Tom McGinn and Col. John T. Hoffman. According to former and current U.S. government officials, China began stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE) months before the COVID-19 outbreak.
McGinn is a Senior Health Advisor at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Hoffman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) – a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence at the University of Minnesota.
The two researchers didn’t believe the narrative that the COVID-19 outbreak emerged from the Wuhan wet market.
In their research, the duo examined a Customs and Border Protection database that tracks goods entering the United States. They discovered that China began stockpiling PPE way before China notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak on Dec. 31, 2019.
“You can go and look about three years back,” Hoffman said in an interview with the Telegraph. “This is not the normal up and down that occurs.”
McGinn and Hoffman presented their findings to the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, but the government agency passed on an investigation. They claimed that the information reflected typical PPE supply fluctuations.
Hoffman then contacted HCA Healthcare which is the largest health system in the United States that operates 211 hospitals and around 2,000 clinics. HCA Healthcare agreed with the research claiming that the pattern was highly unusual.
An HCA Healthcare representative admitted that surgical gowns and drapes were in such short supply in late September 2019. These types of medical necessities were on backorder.
Hoffman said, “I asked HCA folks if this had happened anytime recently. The answer was no — they could not remember ever seeing so much of this stuff on back order.”
A report by the Telegraph said “PPE exports to the U.S. fell by around 50 percent between August and September of 2019, in a significant drop which raised alarm bells at key U.S. government agencies. China also started to buy up global PPE stocks in Europe, Australia, and the U.S. around the same time, experts said.”
A former State Department official, David Asher, who investigated nuclear biological and chemical weapons proliferation and development issues declared that the Chinese government was snatching up PPE supplies.
Asher claimed that “It was a persistent uptick of Chinese purchasing. And it was significant enough that my colleagues at DHS heard about it from American companies that manufacture PPE, and most importantly from U.S. hospitals reporting they weren’t able to get the normal supply of masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles.”
The report added that China which is the biggest manufacturer of PPE in the world started “severely restricting” the export of medical gowns and masks months before the COVID-19 outbreak.