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CDC Director says ‘no new’ virus out of China despite surge in respiratory illness


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Mandy Cohen said during a Congressional hearing that there’s no reason for the public to be alarmed over a spike in respiratory illness in China.

Cohen made the comments during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on Thursday.

Chinese authorities from the National Health Commission earlier in November reported an increase in the number of respiratory diseases, which prompted the World Health Organization to press the CCP for additional data.

The spike in illnesses in children has been linked by Chinese health officials to known pathogens, according to the WHO.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Mandy Cohen speaks at a house hearing

 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Mandy Cohen testifies before the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee November 30, 2023 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of “Unmasking Challenges CDC Faces in Rebuilding Public Trust Amid Respiratory Illness Season.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Cohen said during the hearing that the CDC believes there isn’t a new virus.

“We believe there is no new or novel pathogen,” Cohen said. “These are related to existing pathogens — COVID, flu, RSV and mycoplasma, a bacterium that can infect the lungs.”

According to Cohen, the explanation by China for the spike was corroborated by “other sources from our European Union partners and others to make sure that we are getting a complete picture.” 

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Republicans on the committee said there seem to be similarities in China’s handling of this outbreak.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said the spike is eerily reminiscent of the early stages of COVID-19.

“It brings us back, sadly, to the early days of covid-19,” Rodgers said. “The lack of reliable information coming out of China is a troubling parallel to 2020.”

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Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., said “We are hoping that you can put some pressure in an attempt to try to get China to not mislead the world as they did with covid-19.”



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