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Donald Trump says China’s coronavirus figures ‘on the light side’ after US intelligence reported it concealed extent of the virus outbreak
President Donald Trump commented that China’s coronavirus statistics seem “a little bit on the light side.” His comments came days after U.S. intelligence concluded in a report that the Asian country underreported deaths and the total number of COVID-19 cases.
“The numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side – and I am being nice when I say that – relative to what we witnessed and what was reported,” Donald Trump said at a daily briefing on Wednesday, according to The Guardian. The POTUS was referring to the figures for both total cases of coronavirus infections and death released by the Chinese government.
Based on data from Worldometers.info, China appeared to have flattened the COVID-19 growth curve as its total number of confirmed cases hasn’t budged much for weeks now. As of April 2, total cases in China are just 81,554 while the U.S. topped the list at total of 215,003 cases, followed by Italy at 110,574, and Spain at 104,118 total number of infections.
“As to whether or not their numbers are accurate, I am not an accountant from China,” Donald Trump added.
Bloomberg reported earlier that China might have under-reported both its total number of cases and deaths from the pandemic. This was the conclusion of a classified report the U.S. intelligence community submitted to the White House.
Bloomberg wrote that the White House received the report last week, according to three U.S. officials who asked not to be identified. The sources did not reveal the report’s details but said that “China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete.”
“The reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming,” Vice President Mike Pence told CNN on Wednesday. “What appears evident now is that long before the world learned in December that China was dealing with this, and maybe as much as a month earlier than that, that the outbreak was real in China.”
China reportedly changed its criteria for reported a confirmed case several times. Until this week, its figures did not include cases where people tested positive for COVID-19 but did not show any symptoms. Speculations that the death toll might be higher the official reports were sparked when images of thousands of urns being delivered to families circulated online.
“The claim that the United States has more coronavirus deaths than China is false,” Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, said in a statement. “Without commenting on any classified information, this much is painfully obvious: The Chinese Communist Party has lied, is lying, and will continue to lie about coronavirus to protect the regime.”
Bloomberg wrote that it’s not only China that’s suspected of underreporting its coronavirus statistics. Russia, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea (zero COVID-19 cases) are also suspected of playing down their numbers.