A groundbreaking report leaked to and verified by CNN this week reveals in early February there was more than double the originally released number of confirmed coronavirus cases –– making this one of the "most significant leaks from inside China since the beginning of the pandemic," the outlet reported.
A whistleblower, who previously worked in the Chinese health care system, provided CNN with 117 pages of internal documents from the Hubei Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Though the documents, which have reportedly been verified by six experts, do not explicitly provide evidence that there was a deliberate attempt to conceal the cases, CNN asserts that the findings show inconsistencies in what government officials revealed to the public about what they believed to be happening at the start of the pandemic.
CNN contends that this provides "the first clear window into what local authorities knew internally and when," thus indicating an attempt by the Chinese government to downplay the gravity of the outbreak after repeatedly denying allegations that it purposefully hid information.
On Feb. 10, Chinese authorities publicly announced 2,478 new confirmed coronavirus cases –– the total world count then was just over 40,000, CNN reported.
However, the recently leaked documents disclose there were 5,918 cases on that date. There were 2,345 "confirmed" cases, 1,772 "clinically diagnosed cases" and 1,796 "suspected cases," the documents reportedly reveal.
These documents additionally reveal that the city of Hubei was encountering an influenza epidemic in late 2019, which led to cases being 20 times higher than the previous year, specifically in cities of Yichang and Xianning, according to CNN.
Despite influenza and coronavirus not being linked, the report indicates that the country failed to report its findings on the other virus.
Earlier this year, China's State Council released a statement saying the government had always been transparent about publishing information related to the pandemic in a "timely and transparent fashion," the outlet reported.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there are a total of 13,605,981 cases of coronavirus in the country and 63,556,040 cases globally, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.