In October 2019, nearly 10,000 foreign contestants from more than 100 countries competed in what some call the “military Olympics,” two months before Beijing confirmed it was treating patients with an “unknown pneumonia,” which later turned into a pandemic and became known as COVID-19.
US Congress is seeking a probe into the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China following several athletes’ claims of coronavirus-like symptoms and the characterization of Wuhan as a “ghost town” weeks before Chinese authorities reported the first case of the disease, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
As the pandemic expanded around the globe in early 2020, athletes from a number of nations, including France, Germany, Italy, and Luxembourg, publicly said that they had experienced some severe symptoms back in China or after they returned home, which, along with their relatives experiencing the same symptoms shortly after, convinced participants in the Wuhan Games that they had contracted COVID-19.
“One athlete from Luxembourg reported “nearly empty” streets in Wuhan during the games, recalling, “It was a ghost town,” and “There were rumors that the government warned the inhabitants not to go out.” Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher wrote to the Pentagon in a letter obtained by the outlet. “While anecdotal, these reports raise important questions about the timeline of the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan.”