“You don’t know what the numbers are in China,” Trump said during a Thursday press conference, when asked by a reporter whether he was surprised that the United States now has more confirmed cases of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus than what China has officially reported.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.
“I’m sure you’re not able to tell what China is testing or not testing,” Trump told the reporter. “I think that’s a little hard.”
According to a tracking map published by Johns Hopkins University, at the time of writing, the United States has 85,991 known cases of the virus, about 4,200 more cases than what China has publicly announced.
Wu Se-chih, adjunct assistant professor at the Taipei College of Maritime Technology, said that countries around the world should be aware of China underreporting its confirmed cases, as well as how China has not been forthright about the epidemic inside its borders.
Wu is also a researcher at local nonprofit Cross-Strait Policy Association.
“The United States must warn the world that this pandemic is still out of control—despite claims by China that it has effectively controlled the outbreak—so the world will not make any misjudgments by [what China says],” Wu said.
He added that the World Health Organization (WHO)’s close relations with China has dangerous consequences. “WHO has been taking China’s side, saying that China has done a good job [in combating the virus]. But the reality is that the pandemic has become serious all over the world.”
On Jan. 12, the WHO repeated Beijing’s claim that there was “no clear evidence of human to human transmission” for the CCP virus. Eight days later, China’s state-run media Xinhua admitted that human transmission was possible.
Wu said two examples illustrated why China’s infection numbers were problematic. First, he pointed to the presence of faulty virus test kits in the supplies sent by China to European countries.
The Czech Republic’s deputy health minister said the error rate in Chinese test kits were found to be around 20 to 30 percent, local news site Novinky.cz reported.
In Spain, local authorities found that test kits purchased from Chinese company Bioeasy, which is based in southern China’s Shenzhen city, only correctly identified 30 percent of virus cases, according to local newspaper El Pais.
On Friday, the Chinese firm said it would replace the kits it sent to Spain, after the government deemed them inaccurate in diagnosing patients.
Wu said: “If these medical kits have such a high defective rate, this shows that there are some problems with China’s own virus tests.”
He also pointed out that economists have long doubted the veracity of China’s economic data; thus, people should not take the Chinese regime’s virus data at face value.
In addition, the Taiwanese government was planning to evacuate about 440 Taiwanese citizens from Hubei province, the epicenter of China’s outbreak, at the end of this month, according to local media Taipei Times. Wu said that if China had indeed done a good job at containing the virus, Taiwanese citizens who work or live in mainland China would not feel the need to return to the island.
Taiwan previously evacuated 416 Taiwanese nationals and their family members from China on two separate flights in February and early March, according to local media.
Wu urged for tighter cooperation between the United States and Taiwan in combating the virus, pointing to Taiwan officials’ early warning to the WHO about the virus’s risk of human transmission in December last year.
#Taiwan & the #US are working hand in hand to combat #Coronavirus. The like-minded partners will pool R&D data & resources to develop cutting-edge & effective measures targeting #COVID19. Yes! Taiwan-U.S. cooperation & #ScienceDiplomacy can help realize @WHO's #HealthForAll. pic.twitter.com/we8WIHdErX
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) March 18, 2020
He said the United States could rely on Taiwan instead for reliable information about mainland China, due to the island’s close proximity.