The Wuhan coronavirus had infected over 2 million people worldwide as of Wednesday morning, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.
The worldwide death count has surpassed 128,000, while more than 500,000 people have recovered. The U.S. accounts for approximately 30 percent of global cases with more than 609,000 nationwide. Across the country, over 26,000 people have died.
But experts have warned that China, which has around 82,000 confirmed cases, is deliberately undercounting the actual statistic, which could be nearly 3 million.
“Other than the outbreak site of Hubei, Chinese provinces not only top the list of best-performing areas in limiting Covid, they do so by a huge margin. Yet hundreds of thousands of people, if not over one million, left Hubei for those other provinces before the quarantine and circulated freely for weeks,” Derek Scissors of the American Enterprise Institute told National Review. “All the mistakes other countries made, China made first, before it imposed harsh, effective restrictions. And its population is 20 times larger than countries reporting far more cases.”
Critics have also pointed at the World Health Organization’s failures to accurately describe and handle the initial outbreak due to their credulity toward Chinese information. On Tuesday, President Trump said he was halting U.S. funding to the WHO pending a review of its handling of the pandemic. The U.S. funds 15 percent of the organization’s annual budget, or 75 times the amount that China pays.
“The silence of the WHO on the disappearance of scientific researchers and doctors, and new restrictions on the sharing of research into the origins of COVID-19 in the country of origin is deeply concerning. Especially when we put up by far the largest amount of money,” Trump said. Over the weekend China mandated that research papers on the origin of the coronavirus must be approved by the state before publication.