As the reality of increased COVID-19 containment measures finally starts to set in for many hesitant Americans, China's handling of the novel coronavirus has been called into question, with the White House suggesting that its own approach was hindered by what they characterize as officials in the country not being "forthcoming" enough.
When asked by Wolf Blitzer if he agreed that the U.S. got off "to a late start" with containment efforts, VP Mike Pence turned the discussion to China.
"Well, the reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming," Pence said. "The reality is that China's been more transparent with regard to the coronavirus than certainly they were with other infectious diseases over the last 15 years. But what appears evident now is that long before the world learned in December that China was dealing with this, and maybe as much as a month earlier than that, the outbreak was real in China."
Elsewhere, Pence said he "couldn't be more proud" of the Trump administration's handling of the novel coronavirus. He also disagreed that Trump "ever belittled the threat," despite multiple examples of Trump downplaying the severity. Those instances, Pence said, were merely born of optimism.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg ran a report citing three U.S. officials as stating that a classified intelligence report to the White House had concluded that China had under-reported "both total cases and deaths it's suffered from the disease."
As was promptly pointed out, however, there are two narratives boasting potential truth:
The difficulty of charting the global impact of COVID-19 has remained a point of discussion in recent days. In the States, meanwhile, the current number of CDC-confirmed cases at the time of this writing was 186,101.