The leak of documents from China shows that the country did not cope well with the early COVID-19 pandemic due to misleading public data and a three-week delay in test results, CNN reports.
An informant working for China’s health care system provided CNN with 117 pages of internal documents from the Hubei Province Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The files, which were checked by six experts, showed how the region fought the coronavirus between October 2019 and April 2020, a critical period in which the virus spread from China and caused a global pandemic.
China has repeatedly denied accusations that the U.S. and other governments are deliberately hiding information about the coronavirus. The documents do not show deliberate concealment, but they do point to a discrepancy between what officials knew and what they told the public.
On 10 February, Chinese officials reported 2,478 newly confirmed cases, bringing the total to more than 40,000 worldwide. But the file labeled “internal document, keep it confidential” registered 5,918 new cases as of that date, including 2,345 “confirmed cases”, 1,772 “clinically diagnosed cases” and 1,796 “suspected cases”.
According to Johns Hopkins University, as of Monday evening, the number of cases worldwide had reached 63.1 million and 1.4 million people had died.