As coronavirus cases have jumped in recent days, China misled the world by purposely underreporting its numbers of patients and deaths, three U.S. intelligence officials say.
In a classified report sent to the White House, the officials said that China's public record of COVID-19 infections was deliberately deceptive and incomplete.
Bloomberg, which first reported the news, cited three U.S. intelligence officers who they said they alerted the White House last week to Beijing's misleading numbers. Two of the three sources called the numbers flat-out fake.
While there have been skeptics all along, China's decision to downplay its numbers could have deadly consequence for the rest of the world.
Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House on its response to COVID-19, said Tuesday that China's numbers influenced assumptions in other countries about the nature of the contagion.
"The medical community made -- interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain."
Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has been accused of multiple coverups. It has shifted its timeline on what it knew and when it knew it and has gone after critics, doctors and whistleblowers trying to sound the alarm.
In recent weeks, China has launched a coordinated campaign to boost its global image. It has rebranded itself, tried to restart its economy and sold supplies to hard-hit countries struggling to contain the virus within their borders.
Rather than admit to their mistakes, China has only lied. How can we trust them to make our medicine? Let's keep Americans safe. Let the White House know that you want American-made medicine!