US information on the underestimated figures predates the recent publication in Chinese media that the death toll in Wuhan could be 5,000 or more, double the official number. Intelligence officers did not verify the press reports and excluded them from their reports, according to people informed of their work.
US officials have warned that even with their own source, many warnings from White House intelligence agencies since the start of the epidemic have been relatively close to reports by journalists, who have aggressively reported on the coronavirus epidemic in China and in China. government efforts to suppress reports of its spread.
China has credited its drastic containment measures – including a lockdown of nearly 60 million people – for a drop in new cases reported in recent weeks, but many outside of its government have expressed concern that figures are incomplete.
For example, China has not reported the number of asymptomatic cases it is aware of. Up to 25 percent of people who contract the virus may not show any signs, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Asked about China’s figures at a press conference on Wednesday, Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, said that the United States was “unable to” confirm them. Without recognizing any classified intelligence reports, he noted that public reports had questioned the figures.
“There is no way to confirm these figures,” said O’Brien. “There are a lot of public reports as to whether the numbers are too low. “
Authorities also said that China’s underreporting of its pandemic totals was not surprising, saying that the country’s official statistics were often lies.