China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says




 

(Bloomberg) -- China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it's suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials.

The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret, and they declined to detail its contents. But the thrust, they said, is that China's public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete. Two of the officials said the report concludes that China's numbers are fake.

The report was received by the White House last week, one of the officials said.

The outbreak began in China's 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.

Communications staff at the White House and the Chinese embassy in Washington didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

"The reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming," Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday on CNN. "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 skepticism toward 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.

Republican lawmakers in the U.S. have been particularly harsh about China's role in the outbreak. Enhancing Beijing's role in the pandemic could be politically helpful to President Donald Trump, who has sought to shift blame for the U.S. outbreak away from his administration's delays in achieving widespread testing for the virus and mobilizing greater production of supplies such as face masks and hospital ventilators.

"The claim that the United States has more coronavirus deaths than China is false," Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, said in a statement after Bloomberg News published its report. "Without commenting on any classified information, this much is painfully obvious: The Chinese Communist Party has lied, is lying, and will continue to lie about coronavirus to protect the regime."

Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House on its response to the outbreak, said Tuesday that China's public reporting influenced assumptions elsewhere in the world about the nature of the virus.

"The medical community made -- interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected," she said at a news conference on Tuesday. "Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain."

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.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has publicly urged China and other nations to be transparent about their outbreaks. He has repeatedly accused China of covering up the extent of the problem and being slow to share information, especially in the weeks after the virus first emerged, and blocking offers of help from American experts.

"This data set matters," he said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday. The development of medical therapies and public-health measures to combat the virus "so that we can save lives depends on the ability to have confidence and information about what has actually transpired," he said.

"I would urge every nation: Do your best to collect the data. Do your best to share that information," he said. "We're doing that."

(Updates with Pence's comment in sixth paragraph)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump says he
Trump says he's finished hydroxychloroquine regimen to ward off COVID-19

The FDA has cautioned against the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment outside of hospitals or clinical trials.

Chris Wallace Condemns Kayleigh McEnany for Questioning White House Reporters
Chris Wallace Condemns Kayleigh McEnany for Questioning White House Reporters' Faith

Chris Wallace was back to challenging the Trump administration on "Fox News Sunday" this week, criticizing Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for impugning the faith of reporters who questioned the president's push to reopen places of worship.On Friday, Trump threatened to "override" the authority of governors if they did not reopen religious buildings that have been closed in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. When reporters told McEnany that the president had no legal authority to do so, she responded by saying she found it "interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed."McEnany then told the White House press...

Fox
Fox's Wallace Shreds Kayleigh McEnany for Questioning Reporters' Faith

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace tore into White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Sunday morning for questioning the religious beliefs and faith of White House reporters, saying he's never seen a press secretary act like that in his long career.Following President Donald Trump's Friday announcement in which he demanded that all houses of worship reopen "right now" and toothlessly threatened to "override" governors who have limited gatherings due to coronavirus restrictions, McEnany took a snide shot at the press corps.Asked what federal powers Trump had to force states to open up places of worship during the pandemic, McEnany said the president would "strongly encourage" the...

California Will Get So Hot That Mountain Streams Could Kill
California Will Get So Hot That Mountain Streams Could Kill

(Bloomberg) -- It's going to get so hot in California that people swimming in mountain streams could freeze to death.Much of California, parts of Nevada and Arizona, will be getting their first extreme heat of the year and by Tuesday temperatures will reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in many

Trump deems churches
Trump deems churches 'essential,' calls for them to reopen
  • World
  • 2020-05-22 18:02:42Z

President Donald Trump said Friday that he has deemed churches and other houses of worship "essential" and called on governors across the country to allow them to reopen this weekend, even as some parts of the nation remain under coronavirus lockdown. "Today I'm identifying houses of worship - churches, synagogues and mosques - as essential places that provide essential services," Trump said during a hastily arranged press conference at the White House. Trump said that, "governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend."

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • brulzrhd
    (2020-04-20 07:50:56Z)

    viagra online uk can i buy viagra over the counter generic viagra potency best male enhancement pills delgra strong sildenafil citrate 200 mg

    REPLY
  • ymebdpkx
    (2020-04-20 21:52:15Z)

    https://menviagraus.com - nome generico viagra sandoz can you take viagra after cialis buy viagra online discount

    REPLY

Top News: Economy