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Saturday, January 23, 2021

‘The Wuhan Files’: CNN Publishes Leaked Report Showing China Downplayed COVID-19 Outbreak

CNN has just published the first of what might be a series of reports on a cache of new documents purporting to prove that the information disseminated by Chinese government officials was markedly different from the numbers, assessments and projections being shared with top-level officials. While that doesn’t prove China lied to the public, it’s definitely not a good look (not that any rational person takes China’s COVID numbers at face value).

Reports dating from early February show that the number of cases reported in the province was at times 3x larger than what the public was being told.

A whistleblower who worked in the Chinese health care system provided 117 pages of internal documents from Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention to CNN. The report analyzes data collected between Oct. 2019 and April 2020.

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For example, on Feb. 10, Chinese officials reported 2,478 new confirmed cases, making the total worldwide number reach beyond 40,000. But in a file labeled “internal document, please keep confidential,” the Hubei Provincial CDC recorded 5,918 new cases on that date, with 2,345 “confirmed cases,” 1,772 “clinically diagnosed cases” and 1,796 “suspected cases.”

The documents also “reveal what appears to be an inflexible health care system constrained by top-down bureaucracy and rigid procedures that were ill-equipped to deal with the emerging crisis,” according to CNN.

According to data from early March, the average time between symptom onset and confirmed diagnosis was 23.3 days. Three months later, China’s State Council released a White Paper saying the Chinese government had always published information related to the epidemic in a “timely, open and transparent fashion.”

The leak comes Monday evening, just hours before clocks pass midnight on Dec. 1: “It was clear they did make mistakes – and not just mistakes that happen when you’re dealing with a novel virus – also bureaucratic and politically-motivated errors in how they handled it.”

But perhaps the most intriguing finding from the report is the fact that influenza cases mysteriously spiked in Hubei Province right around this time last year. The outbreak wasn’t centered around Wuhan, but it emerged in the neighboring cities of Yichang and Xianning. The outbreak wasn’t widely reported before now, even though the instance of cases was 20x higher than the prior year, according to the documents.

At the same time that the virus is believed to have first emerged, the documents show another health crisis was unfolding: Hubei was dealing with a significant influenza outbreak. It caused cases to rise to 20 times the level recorded the previous year, the documents show, placing enormous levels of additional stress on an already stretched health care system.

The influenza “epidemic,” as officials noted in the document, was not only present in Wuhan in December, but was greatest in the neighboring cities of Yichang and Xianning. It remains unclear what impact or connection the influenza spike had on the Covid-19 outbreak. And while there is no suggestion in the documents the two parallel crises are linked, information regarding the magnitude of Hubei’s influenza spike has still yet to be made public.

As an important caveat, we most note: While this information wasn’t noted in the mainstream press, outlets like the Epoch Times – which has been widely derided as a purveyor of COVID ‘conspiracies’ – reported on a surge in “COVID-like” infections happening around the same time months ago.

CNN also noted that the revelations are coming as the US and EU are pushing China to cooperate fully with a WHO investigation, and indeed the agency just announced the other day that it’s sending another team comprising scientists of various nationalities on a more detailed fact-finding mission to investigate the “origins” of the pandemic.

Still, we can’t help but wonder how a low-level bureaucrat would not only manage to abscond with such a highly classified report, but then manage to leak it to CNN, a news organization staffed primarily by English-speaking reporters (though to be sure there are undoubtedly Chinese language experts in its employ) – all without China’s all-seeing surveillance state catching wind of what’s happening. The origins of the leak, and the lack of detail devoted to explaining how CNN got this information, suggest that there’s something more at work here. Could this be another Intel leak to favored reporters trying to turn the public’s ire back on China – they lied to us! – as the long, dark winter Biden has promised finally begins?

Or perhaps something more sinister?

Zerohedge

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