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CNN, Taking a Break from Attacking Trump for COVID, Aims at China

Dec. 1, 2020 (EIRNS)—Perhaps deciding that they’ve worked hard enough to paint Trump as the uniquely heinous world COVID villain, CNN has switched gears to target China. On Monday evening, Nov. 30, the fake news outlet posted an article based on Chinese health documents. “Leaked documents reveal China’s mishandling of the early stages of COVID-19,” runs the headline. And while the documents, if accurate, do indeed reveal disparities between publicly reported COVID numbers and those known to government health officials, the differences are not enormous—the largest percentage gap they report is on Feb. 10, where 2,478 confirmed cases were reported, against 5,918 reported cases—and there is absolutely no documentation that Chinese officials believed the virus would become a global pandemic.

Even this difference, however, reflects the different ways that China categorized cases at a time when testing capacity was still limited. China labeled as “confirmed cases” those in which a genetic test revealed the presence of the virus. “Clinically diagnosed cases” were those without a genetic test, but with X-ray/CT evidence of characteristic lung problems. And “suspected cases” were those with symptoms suggestive of COVID and some history of exposure to another case. They write that “China’s diagnostic criteria have been criticized by health experts for their continued, public decision to not count asymptomatic cases.” (This was indeed a shortcoming of China’s reporting approach.)

Otherwise, the report reveals unsurprising bureaucratic inertia and the desire of officials to underreport numbers to save face, particularly with the Chinese New Year holiday.

This report does not support the conclusion that had China reported these numbers accurately, we would not have a worldwide pandemic today.

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