The US intelligence community has concluded that China intentionally misrepresented its coronavirus numbers. China reported only 3,000+ death cases, thereby covering up information about its coronavirus cases and spreading misinformation. China was “the first country to know about the risk to the world from this virus,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news briefing, “and they repeatedly delayed sharing that information with the globe.” Pompeo added that this data set matters because the strategy for combatting the virus “depends on the ability to have confidence and information about what has actually transpired.”
The South China Morning Post reported that a truck driver in Wuhan told the magazine Caixin that he delivered about 5,000 urns to a single funeral home over two days last month.
Chinese officials have pushed back on the allegations. Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said that China had been transparent and shared accurate information with the US and other countries. Dr. Deborah Birx, a State Department immunologist and one of the faces of the White House’s coronavirus task force, also suggested that there was a discrepancy between the numbers China reported and its actual cases.
She said the medical community used China’s data to gauge the scope of the outbreak, initially concluding that it was “serious, but smaller than anyone expected.” But “I think 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.”
Radio Free Asia described some people as saying on social media that Wuhan’s funeral homes were “handing out 3,500 urns every day.” Insider could not independently verify the outlet’s reporting, but Radio Free Asia said that at that rate, about “42,000 urns would be given out” from March 23 to April 5, when a traditional grave-tending festival begins.