The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that China put forward fake coronavirus death and case numbers, according to Bloomberg News.
The intelligence community reportedly sent a classified report to the White House last week detailing how the Chinese government under-reported disease statistics. President Donald Trump and his coronavirus task force have long been skeptical of China’s public numbers, but no official declaration had been made.
Coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx publicly slighted China for inaccurate reports at a White House press conference Tuesday. She said the slow global response to the virus was thanks largely to China’s downplaying of the threat, which led doctors to take it less seriously. (RELATED: White House Anticipates Between 100,000 And 240,000 Coronavirus Deaths)
“The medical community interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller,” she said. “Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”
China has officially reported 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, lower than some nations whose outbreaks started later, such as the U.S. Wuhan, where the virus first broke out, reported 2,535 deaths, but over the course of two days during the crisis, just one of the city’s eight mortuaries received shipments of 5,000 urns to carry ashes of the deceased, according to Shanghaiist. (RELATED: March 11 Study Found That China Could Have Prevented Global Pandemic By Acting Three Weeks Earlier)
The mortuary plans to release urns at a rate of 500 per day until April 4. If the city’s seven other mortuaries are adopting the same policy, that would total 40,000 urns, starting with the first confirmed delivery on March 26.
News of the intelligence report comes as much of the medical aid China shipped across the world has turned out to be faulty. The Netherlands received 1.3 million masks from China, and 600,000 were defective, according to Dutch media. Spain and the Czech Republic also ordered hundreds of thousands of test kits, and 80% of them were reportedly defective.