U.S. Intelligence claims that China concealed the extent of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in the country and gave false statistics of the total number of positive cases and deaths in the country.
This information was included in a classified report to the White House. It states that China intentionally lowered its
reported number of coronavirus cases, according to three officials familiar with the matter. The officials did not indicate if the report estimates what China’s actual infection rate is.
The outbreak of the virus began in China’s Wuhan city in Hubei province in late 2019, but the country has publicly reported only about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That compares to more than
189,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths in the U.S., which has the largest publicly reported outbreak in the world.
China was the centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak until recently, when the number of US cases surpassed China’s. The World
Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, a pandemic on March 11.
As of April 2, the latest reports show unstoppable rising in numbers, 927,986 people across the globe have been infected and 46,491 have died.
The news comes a day after Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, suggested that the “U.S. response to the pandemic may not have been as effective as possible due to “missing” data from China.”
“The medical community interpreted the Chinese data as, this was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” Birx said at a press briefing. “Because, probably…we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that we see what happened to Italy and we see what happened to Spain.”
Vice President Mike Pence also stated that “The reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming,” he further adds, “What appears evident now is that long before the world learned in December that China was
dealing with this, and maybe as much as a month earlier than that, that the outbreak was real in China.”
While China eventually imposed a strict lockdown beyond those of less autocratic nations, there has been considerable scepticism of China’s reported numbers, both outside and within the country. The Chinese government has repeatedly revised its
methodology for counting cases, for weeks excluding people without symptoms entirely, and only on Tuesday added more than 1,500 asymptomatic cases to its total.
Stacks of thousands of urns outside funeral homes in Hubei province have driven public doubt in Beijing’s reporting.
China isn’t the only country with suspect public reporting. Western officials have pointed to Iran, Russia, Indonesia and especially North Korea, which has not reported a single case of the disease, as probable under-counts. Others including Saudi Arabia and Egypt may also be playing down their numbers.