The U.S. intelligence community has assessed that China has steadfastly worked to conceal the extent of its coronavirus deaths and infections, according to a report published Wednesday as global infections and deaths continue to rise.
Three anonymous officials confirmed to Bloomberg News that the determination was made in a report to the White House. They did not speak about the details in the report but said that it generally maintains that Chinese government officials have intentionally underrepresented the severity of the outbreak in the country.
More than 885,000 people have been infected with the virus worldwide since it emerged it emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, according to data being compiled by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. More than 44,200 have died and greater than 185,500 have recovered.
Beijing maintains that 81,518 patients have been infected and 3,305 have died in mainland China, numbers the Trump administration has repeatedly cast into doubt as confirmed cases in the U.S., Italy and Spain have eclipsed China's official toll.
Within China, residents have questioned official figures as droves of bereaved family members line up to collect loved ones' remains at funeral homes, and as photos emerge of stacks of urns used to hold cremated bodies pictured in Wuhan.
Chinese media group Caixin published one photo in which truckloads of urns are seen in Wuhan, and another in which they are seen boxed and amassed inside a building in a scene reminiscent of a wholesale warehouse.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China on Monday of carrying out a "disinformation campaign" aimed at minimizing the gravity of the outbreak in the country.
"They haven't been sufficiently transparent and the risk, Sean [Hannity], that you find, if we don't get this right, if we don't get to the bottom of this, could be something that's repeatable," Pompeo said during a Fox News interview.
"There's risk, there's questions, and as America's most senior diplomat, we have an obligation to try and help make sure that we get this information from the Chinese Communist Party, so we can help our medical professionals here in the United States, get this right and save lives for Americans and for people all across the world," he added.
The COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. has resulted in nearly 191,000 infections and more than 4,120 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.