A recent report by Bloomberg points out that China has intentionally under-reported the actual number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, citing a classified report of US intelligence that was presented to White House last week.
White House officials who spoke anonymously declined to share the details of the report owing to the classified nature of the document but did mention that the essence of the report was that China had underreported the total number of cases and deaths caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
According to data compiled by John Hopkins University, China has reported 82,000 cases and approximately 3,200 deaths from the pandemic that started in December in 2019 in China’s Hubei province and is far less than the numbers reported by the United States, Spain and Italy.
The United States alone has reported around 257,000 cases so far and more than 6500 deaths. In fact Spain and Italy since the past few days have reported almost a thousand deaths every day. Now France seems to have joined the tragic list with over 5300 fatalities as on Friday evening, IST.
Even though China imposed a strict lockdown after the coronavirus outbreak, questions have been raised from several quarters about China’s actual casualties. The issue first raised eyebrows after people and journalists pointed at the staggering number of urns that were delivered to funeral homes.
Another factor that points to higher numbers is that a lot of people after the advent of the outbreak died before they could be tested and were never included in the official tally. A lot of people died at homes and also were excluded. An unidentified number of people who died because the Communist regime diverted its resources to deal with the pandemic were also left out.
Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist said that Beijing’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.” “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 is not the only country with suspect reporting. Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Indonesia and North Korea all suspected of under-reporting.
US President Donald Trump said, “China’s numbers appear a bit on the downside and I’m being nice when I say that,” he said at the coronavirus briefing. US Vice-President Mike Pence too reverberated with the sentiments and said that China was aware about a month or two earlier about the pandemic what the world knew in December.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also has urged China and other nations to be transparent in reporting their cases. Pompeo has time and again has accused China of covering up the extent of damage caused by the pandemic and being especially slow to share the information in the weeks since the pandemic was first discovered in the city of Wuhan.
However, the ”under-reporting’ news has resulted in an outcry in China who have denied any under-reporting and has labelled the report as a conspiracy by the United States. According to CNBC, The Chinese Embassy in Washington said that Beijing “has fully honoured its obligations under International Health Regulations guidelines and has been updating the number of cases and deaths in a transparent and responsible manner.
The strongly-worded document further added that the Chinese Government had initiated all the required steps to contain the outbreak out of a sense of responsibility for its people and further adds that slandering and shifting blame cannot help make up for the lost time and neither can it hide the incompetence of some people in containing the outbreak nor their despicable attempt to put political interests above human life.