Leaked documents show China's chaotic mishandling of early stages of COVID-19
New leaked documents from Hubei's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reportedly reveal how China mishandled the early stages of the pandemic, with an underfunded public health system struggling to cope and officials putting out misleading case numbers in an effort to sweep the outbreak under the carpet.
CNN, which obtained the documents, has a lengthy report on the matter.
"At several critical moments in the early phase of the pandemic, the documents show evidence of clear missteps and point to a pattern of institutional failings," it says.
Among the revelations:
A staggering 23-day lag in diagnosis times: China took more than three weeks to return test results, potentially allowing the virus many days to spread.
A double health crisis sparked by a huge influenza spike: There was a previously unreported and unusual rise in influenza in Hubei - up to 20 times the number of normal cases - which placed a strain on healthcare systems just as the coronavirus emerged.
Underreporting case numbers to downplay the severity of the outbreak: The documents show that on one day, February 10, Hubei officials publicly reported only two thirds of new cases, saying there were 3911 new cases when their internal documents actually identified 5918 cases. In another instance, they only reported half the true number of deaths.