A new U.S. intelligent report concluded that China “intentionally concealed the severity” of the coronavirus outbreak in order to hoard medical supplies.
A four-page Department of Homeland Security intelligence report obtained by the Associated Press, which has not yet been released to the public, said China ramped up its imports of medical supplies needed to treat the virus while reducing exports of those supplies.
The report states that China accomplished the coverup by “denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data.”
Further, China delayed informing the public of the human-to-human transmission of the virus into January so it could continue to import medical supplies.
The World Health Organization (WHO), who has been criticized for repeating China’s inaccurate information about the virus, claimed on January 14 that, “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.”
Numerous reports have previously indicated China intentionally withheld information about coronavirus and its potential to cause a pandemic in the early critical days of the outbreak. Chinese officials went so far as to punish medical professionals who warned about the disease in December and ordered disease samples destroyed.
President Trump said the U.S. is investigating China’s role in the origin of the virus, and both he and several top officials have criticized China for its secrecy surrounding the outbreak and its continued refusal to share information with the world.
Although U.S. intelligence agencies said the evidence gathered from their investigation so far does not conclude the virus was man-made, the investigation is still looking into the possibility that the virus originated at a lab in Wuhan – the Chinese city in which the outbreak was first reported.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the intelligence agencies’ conclusion on Sunday, saying, “Remember, China has a history of infecting the world, and they have a history of running substandard laboratories,” in an apparent reference to the SARS outbreak that originated in China.
“These are not the first times that we’ve had a world exposed to viruses as a result of failures in a Chinese lab,” Pompeo said. “And so, while the intelligence community continues to do its work, they should continue to do that, and verify so that we are certain, I can tell you that there is a significant amount of evidence that this came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”
China also revised Wuhan’s death toll to a number 50 percent higher than originally reported, suggesting they downplayed the magnitude of the deadly virus. Estimates suggest Wuhan’s death toll is even higher than China admits.