The White House doesn’t trust China’s coronavirus numbers — here’s why

CNBC
Date: Feb 15 2020
By: Berkeley Lovelace Jr and William Feuer

KEY POINTS

  • The coronavirus that emerged from China’s Hubei province over a month ago and has spread to two dozen countries is already fueling mistrust from the U.S. government on whether China can provide accurate information.
  • U.S. mistrust of China goes as far back as the 1950s, when national authorities set unrealistic production quotas that led local officials to inflate data.

Xinhua News Agency

The coronavirus that emerged from China’s Hubei province over a month ago and has spread to two dozen countries is already fueling mistrust from the U.S. government on whether China can provide accurate information about the epidemic. 

The White House said this week it does “not have high confidence in the information coming out of China” regarding the count of coronavirus cases, a senior administration official told CNBC. Meanwhile, China has reportedly been reluctant to accept help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and has reportedly suppressed information about the outbreak from scientists that it deems alarming.

U.S. officials’ mistrust of China goes as far back as the 1950s, when national authorities set unrealistic production quotas that led local officials to inflate data. Mishaps with the 2003 outbreak of SARS, which sickened 8,098 people and killed about 800 over nine months, and discrepancies in reporting of economic data over the past two decades has only hardened the U.S. government’s belief that China cannot be trusted, experts say. White House advisor Peter Navarro has even called China a “disease incubator.”    [FULL  STORY]

By