President Donald Trump stopped short Wednesday of outright accusing the Chinese government of lying about its own coronavirus statistics and denied seeing an alleged report put together by a United States intelligence agency accusing China of underreporting data.
The news broke of the alleged intelligence report earlier in the day Wednesday. The report itself was said to have been delivered to the White House last week.
“We have not received that, but their numbers appear to be a little on the light side,” Trump told a reporter when asked if he had discussed the report with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“We’re in constant communication,” he continued. “The relationship is very good.”
The Chinese government itself appeared to recently acknowledge its own underreporting of its coronavirus cases. (RELATED: Chinese Government Finally Acknowledges Underreporting Coronavirus Cases)
Health official Chang Jile announced at a press conference in Wuhan that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had not reported numbers for positive tests in asymptomatic individuals and pledged to “publish reports, outcomes and management of asymptomatic people in daily epidemic notifications, and respond to social concerns in a timely manner,” starting April 1.
Undercover reports from inside Wuhan also suggest that China is underreporting the total number of deaths in the region. City residents have reported massive shipments of urns arriving in the city, despite the Party only reporting roughly 3,000 total deaths since November 2019.
Infectious disease experts have sharply criticized the World Health Organization for amplifying China’s misinformation on coronavirus.
“Many of us were incredibly disappointed for lack of a better word in the WHO and its response,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said in a Tuesday interview. “When you look at what WHO did I think they set us back a great deal because they made countries believe if just a few countries that were going to get this would just do the containment work, we could stop it.”
“So we held back on a preparedness, and gave people excuses not to do it.”