Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc speaks on differences between Ebola and COVID-19

Retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc of Stratham said the actions of officials in China have made worse the spread of COVID-19 throughout the west. The Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate had run the Army's West Africa command as countries in that region faced the deadly Ebola virus in 2014.

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CONCORD – Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc said China’s secrecy led to the worldwide spread of COVID-19 that could have more devastating consequences than the Ebola virus he dealt with as a brigadier general working in Africa.

Bolduc, a Stratham resident, was the head of U.S. Special Operations Command in Africa during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

During a telephone conference call with reporters, Bolduc said those fighting Ebola dealt with many of the same challenges, including a shortage of protective personal equipment and a need to dramatically expand hospital bed capacity.

But one difference, Bolduc said, was the leaders of countries seeking to contain Ebola cooperated with one another in contrast to what he said was China’s refusal to be transparent early on about the outbreak.

“All these areas came together and worked much better than we are seeing now,” Bolduc said. “The French, Germans, British, Japanese, the UN came together, African Union and NATO, they all cooperated.”

The 2014–16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa was the largest since the virus was first discovered in 1976. The outbreak started in Guinea and then moved into Sierra Leone and Liberia.

During those years, there were more than 11,000 deaths in the three countries and the fatality rate ran as high as 67 percent.

By contrast, Bolduc said the actions of China’s leadership made the spread of COVID-19 much worse.

“It’s my perspective that everything I have read is China is the problem here, China has created this entire worldwide epidemic," Bolduc said.

Bolduc said he agrees with the past views of Sen. Thomas Cotton, R-Ark, who has said the Chinese government was responsible for the virus and could have created it as a biological weapon.

“This is probably a biological program that they put together and, unfortunately, it got beyond what they could contain and the entire country is now infected by it,” Bolduc said.

Many western health care officials have pushed back on that theory and there were reports in the past week that Russian hackers were promoting this and other conspiracies on the Internet to foster division in the U.S.

The European Union reported that disinformation reports include "claims that the coronavirus was brought to us by migrants, or that it is a bio-weapon developed by either the U.S., the U.K. or China."

Bolduc said this novel coronavirus could have been designed to not be universally fatal.

“Remember if you can create injury, if you can create wounded people it takes more assets to take care of wounded people than it does than those who die,” Bolduc said.

“This virus is designed to get the younger generation sick and designed to have a fatal effect on our older generations. This is not some kind of crazy conspiracy theory.”

Bolduc said another key difference with this virus versus Ebola is that Trump’s adversaries in politics and the media have tried to discredit him while the country rallied behind then-President Obama dealing with the Ebola outbreak.

“The difference, in my mind, is the way the media reacted to it when it was the Obama administration as opposed to the Trump administration,” Bolduc said.

“We didn’t have the same type of divisiveness popping up in Congress and popping up in certain outlets of the mainstream media.”

The other Republicans running for the U.S. Senate this fall are former House Speaker Bill O’Brien of Nashua and Wolfeboro trial lawyer Bryant Corky Messner.

Friday, July 10, 2020