Officially, China reported nearly 82,000 cases of the coronavirus and around 3,300 deaths, with only a handful of new cases each day, and announced the country is largely in recovery as China ended its lockdown of Wuhan, the city of 11 million people where the outbreak began.
In comparison, the United States reported nearly 500,000 cases of the coronavirus around the country and more than 18,000 deaths by the disease – a figure some officials even believe is under-reported, despite grossly surpassing the numbers coming out of China.
So when major cellphone carriers in China reported a loss in nearly 21 million subscriptions in January and February, some skeptics theorized that the number of phone numbers that disappeared from the original hotspot of the disease may correlate to the real number of lives lost to the novel coronavirus.
According to data published by the mobile carriers, China Mobile Ltd. saw a drop of nearly 7.25 million subscribers and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. lost 7.8 million subscribers in January and February, while China Telecom Corp. lost 5.6 million subscribers in February alone, the Associated Press reported.
China affairs expert Tang Jinyuan explained that having a cellphone and a cell subscription is married to daily life in China.
U.S. intelligence officials also reported that China concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak, according to both the New York Times and Fortune Magazine.
“The reality is we could have been better off if China has been more forthcoming,” Vice President Mike Pence told CNN. And as America continues to grapple with its own outbreak, with an apex more imminent with each passing day, Hoffman’s concern is with the long-term effects of China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.