Beijing still misleads the world: 2.9 million cases, rather than the 82 thousand they report

Beijing still misleads the world: 2.9 million cases, rather than the 82 thousand they report, by Walter Russel Mead.

In a classified report to the White House, the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that China underreports both deaths and the total number of cases. The Economist magazine compared China’s reported statistics with those from other countries and found that numbers changed dramatically in response to political events, such as the firing and replacement of local officials.

Using conservative figures and assumptions, a report by Derek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute estimates 2.9 million total cases in China, rather than the total of about 82,000 Beijing reports. If Mr. Scissors is right, the number of cases that China has concealed is greater than the total number of cases reported in the rest of the world.

These data matter. Without accurate information about the number and location of cases, including asymptomatic cases from China, it is much harder for the rest of the world to understand basic facts about the disease and its spread. And the absence of accurate information from China makes it much more difficult to know when it is safe to lift lockdowns.