by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jim Geraghty of National Review Online highlights disturbing news about China’s approach to sharing COVID-19 information.
Nick Paton Walsh of CNN unveils a fascinating but ultimately frustrating work of journalism based upon 117 pages of leaked documents from the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention from the start of the coronavirus pandemic — what the network calls, “the most significant leak from inside China since the beginning of the pandemic,” a leak that “provide[s] the first clear window into what local authorities knew internally and when.”
The first and most significant conclusion confirms what many suspected, that China had significantly more cases than the government’s official numbers claimed: “In a report marked ‘internal document, please keep confidential,’ local health authorities in the province of Hubei, where the virus was first detected, list a total of 5,918 newly detected cases on February 10, more than double the official public number of confirmed cases.” Elsewhere the report notes, “The leaked documents show the daily confirmed death toll in Hubei rose to 196 on February 17. That same day, Hubei publicly reported just 93 virus deaths.” …
… Toward the end of the article, Walsh writes: “China is close to zero local cases and although small-scale outbreaks continue to flare, the virus is mostly contained.” Except . . . the whole scoop from this article is that the Chinese government is not honest in its statements about how many cases exist, so it’s not clear why anyone should be so credulous about Beijing’s assessments now.
Early in the article, CNN offers another strange qualified defense of Beijing: “Though the documents provide no evidence of a deliberate attempt to obfuscate findings, they do reveal numerous inconsistencies in what authorities believed to be happening and what was revealed to the public.”
But based upon the comments of the experts consulted that appear later in the article, it is hard to believe that the Chinese health officials understated the number of cases accidentally. …