Beijing’s coronavirus lies have badly deepened global suffering

Bloomberg News reports that the US intelligence community has concluded that China is “intentionally” hiding the true numbers of its coronavirus cases and fatalities — a fact that should surprise no one, and is yet another way Beijing has made the pandemic a bigger problem for the rest of the world.

Deborah Birx, the doctor-diplomat who’s leading the White House response to COVID-19, made it clear at a briefing this week: “When you looked at the China data originally,” she said, “you start thinking of this more like SARS than you do a global pandemic.” It wasn’t until data started coming out of Italy and Spain that public-health officials realized the problem would be far bigger “than anyone expected.”

In other words, if Beijing had reported the true size of the outbreak there, public-health experts would’ve been sounding much louder alarms at the start — and the rest of the world would have begun making much greater preparations, sooner.

Plenty of evidence suggests the US intel report is right. A Radio Free Asia analysis, for example, found Wuhan’s official death toll of 2,535 may be understated by a factor of 20. It reported seven mortuaries were handing families 500 funeral urns a day for well over a week. One took shipment of 5,000 urns in just two days.

This, while China claimed it had no new cases to report — and embarked on a propaganda campaign suggesting the West is simply less-suited than Beijing’s dictatorship to fighting the bug. (Sadly, the Trump-hating media have eaten up that line.)

Also telling was how China refused to let a full World Health Organization team — or any experts from the US Centers for Disease Control — inspect the situation on the ground in the epidemic’s early days.

It’s established fact that the regime suppressed news of the outbreak at the start, even forcing doctors to retract their warnings — and fostering lies about the virus not being transmissible person-to-person.

Which means there’s zero reason to believe anything it says about the death toll within its borders — or to trust its claim that it’s now beaten the bug. Note how it recently began expelling reporters from a host of US media institutions.

COVID-19 has claimed at least 42,000 lives worldwide. A University of Southampton study estimates 95 percent of infections would have been avoided if China had acted just three weeks earlier — instead of silencing those who sought to save lives.

Beijing has a lot to answer for — but all its answers will be lies, too.

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