The White House thinks the coronavirus numbers churned out by China could be misleading as reports emerge that the Asian economic giant has been suppressing information about the outbreak of the deadly disease.
The flu-like virus which emerged from China’s Hubei province in December and has spread to 40 countries is fueling mistrust from the U.S. government on whether China is providing accurate information.
China has reportedly been reluctant to accept help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raising the level of mistrust by the U.S. about the figures China has been releasing.
The inability of Beijing “to contain the outbreak, inconsistencies and sudden changes in official data are leaving experts — and journalists — struggling to plot meaningful trends, or even place any confidence in the figures coming from government,” according to the Washington Post.
U.S. mistrust of China is not new and goes as far back as the 1950s when national authorities set unrealistic production quotas that led local officials to inflate data. There were also discrepancies in the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak that killed more than 800 people.
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A World Health Organization-led team of 12 international experts arrived in China in February to collaborate with Chinese counterparts, according to WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The mission ended on Feb. 25.
In August 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump accused China of manipulating its currency, which has been used to support the notion the Asian country could also be suppressing coronavirus numbers.
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