The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has deliberately concealed and covered up the extent of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China, “under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease,” according to a classified U.S. intelligence report provided to the White House, and cited by Fortune.
The report appears to be from the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) since it is reported as representing the views of the Intelligence Community (IC) and not just one agency. According to officials cited by Fortune, the report concludes that “China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete” and “China’s numbers are fake.”
Recent unofficial reports from China of thousands of burial urns outside funeral homes in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, have only added to public doubts Beijing’s official reporting.
Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House on the outbreak, said at a press conference that China’s public reporting influenced assumptions elsewhere in the world about the nature of the virus, according to Fortune.
“The medical community… interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious but smaller than anyone expected — Because… we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”
Thus, we can conclude that the Chinese misinformation hampered both the international community’s understanding of the threat and the U.S. and global response.
Reporting on the Wuhan coronavirus from Russia, Iran, and North Korea is also highly suspect as those countries struggle to contain their own outbreaks while concealing the truth and misleading the outside world.
Analysts such as myself have been expressing doubts about China’s virus numbers from the beginning, warning of China’s disinformation and propaganda campaign to deflect attention from the virus’ origin in Wuhan and China’s own culpability in allowing this virus to spread globally.
This classified US intelligence report appears to confirm that those warnings were correct, and China’s deliberate disinformation campaign regarding COVID-19 may have turned what could have been a manageable outbreak in China, into a deadly global pandemic.
Paul Crespo is a defense and national security expert. He served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. He holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. Paul is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and a Contributor to American Defense News.