Politics

China hid extent of coronavirus outbreak, US intelligence reportedly says

Key Points
  • The Chinese government has deliberately underreported the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country, the U.S. intelligence community told the White House, a new report says.
  • Bloomberg, citing three U.S. officials, reported Wednesday that the intelligence community said in a classified report that China's public tally of COVID-19 infections and deaths is purposefully incomplete.
  • The secret report concludes that China's numbers are fake, two of the officials said, Bloomberg reported. The White House received the report last week, according to the news outlet.
A man wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against Covid-19 walks past a Communist Party flag in Wuhan, China, on March 31, 2020.
Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images

The Chinese government has deliberately underreported the total number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country, the U.S. intelligence community told the White House, a new report says.

Bloomberg, citing three U.S. officials, reported Wednesday that the intelligence community said in a classified report that China's public tally of COVID-19 infections and deaths is purposefully incomplete.

The secret report concludes that China's numbers are fake, two of the officials told Bloomberg. The White House received the report last week, according to the news outlet.

At a White House press briefing Wednesday, Trump said that "we have not received" any intelligence reports showing that China underreported its coronavirus numbers.

Still, Trump said that Beijing's tally appeared "to be a little bit on the light side, and I'm being nice when I say that, relative to what we witnessed and what was reported."

China has reported 82,361 coronavirus cases, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. That number is about half of the total cases confirmed in the U.S., which has become the country with the highest number of reported infections in the world.

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Neither the White House nor the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., immediately responded to CNBC's requests for comments on Bloomberg's report.

"You don't know what the numbers are in China," President Donald Trump said at a press briefing last week.

Read Bloomberg's full report.

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