Leaked documents show China’s mishandling of the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Don’t we all wish we could turn back time and get ahead of Coronavirus before it wreaked all this havoc? Unfortunately, we can’t, but newly leaked documents obtained and reviewed by CNN show how China mishandled the deadly virus back when it first got loose.
Official documents titled “internal document, please keep confidential” circulated internally between a group of medical workers. It listed 5,918 newly detected cases on February 10, the same day medical workers video-conference called with President Xi Jinping to discuss what was at the time a smaller outbreak. Local health authorities reported 5,918 newly detected cases in the province Hubei, which was more than double the official public number of confirmed cases, Nick Paton Walsh of CNN writes. The cases were broken down into various subcategories, and the larger figure was never fully revealed at the time.
One of the key findings from CNN’s report was that Chinese officials gave the world more optimistic data than they actually had access to. China’s system took, on average, 23 days to diagnose confirmed patients. But, testing failures also resulted in many tests being negative until January 10.
CNN also found a “large and previously undisclosed outbreak of influenza happened in early December in Hubei province,” Walsh writes. The flu outbreak caused 20 times the level of flu cases that were recorded last year.
“It was clear they did make mistakes — and not just mistakes that happen when you’re dealing with a novel virus — also bureaucratic and politically-motivated errors in how they handled it,” said Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written extensively on public health in China. “These had global consequences. You can never guarantee 100% transparency. It’s not just about any intentional cover-up, you are also constrained with by technology and other issues with a novel virus. But even if they had been 100% transparent, that would not stop the Trump administration downplaying the seriousness of it. It would probably not have stopped this developing into a pandemic.”