U.S. Lost Trillions of Dollars in COVID Economic Damages

A report from the Heritage Foundation’s Nonpartisan Commission on China and COVID-19 revealed that the pandemic and related policies led to the United States having $18 trillion in economic losses.

The report blames the Chinese government for much of the damage, saying that China has been “in a league uniquely of its own in its active and aggressive opposition to honesty, transparency, and accountability regarding the virus and its spread.”

“This behavior by the Chinese government, more than anything else, was the proximal origin of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it states.

The $18 trillion figure is broken down by various losses. It describes that deaths from the pandemic totaled $8.6 trillion, lost income cost $1.8 trillion, chronic health conditions cost $6 trillion, mental health contributed $1 trillion, and educational losses amounted to $435 billion.

The commission wrote that the total estimated cost of $18 trillion is a “stark reminder of the profound impact this global health crisis has had on the nation.”

“By understanding and acknowledging these costs, we can lay the groundwork for holding accountable those whose negligence or overt actions exacerbated the pandemic’s severity,” it noted.

The commission then shifts to making the “case for Chinese government accountability” for its role in the pandemic.

While it remains possible that the virus “emerged via zoonosis in the wild or spillover in a wet market (spillover is a virus originating in animals before it passes to humans),” the commission wrote, “there is no evidentiary basis for either of these hypotheses despite extensive testing over four years.”

China also engaged in a “systematic cover-up,” the report declares, adding, “The CCP withheld information, published false data, and refused to share information about health care workers—a key to understanding transmission patterns and developing strategies to contain outbreaks.”

The commission go on to lay out 17 recommendations for the United States, seven for Congress and ten for the president.

Some of the recommendations include establishing a bipartisan task force to “cover claims against China,” passing legislation to audit all U.S. funding of Chinese-related research activities, and imposing “economic sanctions on Chinese officials and entities associated with the COVID-19 cover-up.”

“The fact of the matter is that the Chinese government did not act responsibly or transparently. They covered up highly pertinent information about COVID-19—even including when and where the disease began—from their own public, the scientific community, and the world,” the report says in its conclusion. “The Chinese government destroyed evidence, actively gagged their own scientists, jailed journalists for the crime of asking questions, and blocked attempts by the international community to investigate the origins of COVID-19. It engaged in these and other acts despite being a signatory to an international agreement that requires them to notify the World Health Organization of such a public health emergency accurately and in a timely manner.”

“Better to take bold action now than to ask ourselves why we didn’t do more if an even deadlier pandemic emerges in the future,” the commission asserts.