A confidential report from the U.S. intelligence committee indicates that Chinese officials may have altered the total number of coronavirus cases found within its borders.
The report, which three officials confirmed to Bloomberg News had been presented to the White House, concluded that China’s government has underreported both the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases as well as the number of deaths in the country from the virus.
The White House, which reportedly received the report last week, did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill or Bloomberg. The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., also did not return Bloomberg’s request for comment.
Chinese officials have reported more than 80,000 cases of the disease and around 3,300 deaths, largely centered around the city of Wuhan in the country’s Hubei province, where the virus is thought to have originated.
The U.S. surpassed China this week in the number of officially reported cases of the disease, while the growth rate of new cases in China has largely flattened, according to a Johns Hopkins University model tracking the disease. Earlier this month, the country announced its first day with no new cases in the city of Wuhan.
U.S. and Chinese officials have traded public criticism over the virus’s spread.
President Trump has called the coronavirus the “China virus” in a nod to its origins, though he has stopped using the term over the last week amid criticism that it was leading to violence against Asian Americans.
Chinese officials have falsely said the coronavirus could have been a U.S. military plot.
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