White House was briefed by medical intelligence specialists about the spreading contagion in China as early as NOVEMBER – and warning about carnage in Wuhan was in Donald Trump’s daily briefing in early January
- U.S. intelligence picked up information on a spreading outbreak in China’s Wuhan province in November
- It wasn’t until December 31 that China informed global health officials of the new coronavirus outbreak
- Information gained through human intel, computers, and satellites, ABC News reports
- National Center for Medical Intelligence documented concerns
- Information was included in President’s Daily Brief in January after weeks of vetting
- This week it was revealed trade advisor Peter Navarro penned doomsday memos about the coronavirus in January and February
U.S. intelligence officials who focus on medical developments around the world got information on a spreading outbreak in Wuhan, China in November that they used to brief White House and other officials around the government, it was revealed Wednesday.
Intelligence officials memorialized what they learned and presented it to the Defense Intelligence Agency and the joint staff of the Pentagon, as well as the White House, ABC News reported.
Those warnings anticipated the coronavirus outbreak that has tanked the global economy and killed 12,000 Americans and counting. It was not immediately clear from the report, based on anonymous sourcing, who in the White House had access to the information and precisely when.
Chinese residents wear masks while waiting at a bus station near the closed Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, was linked to cases of a new strain of Coronavirus identified as the cause of the pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 20 January 2020. Defense intelligence officials got warned about a growing outbreak in November, according to a new report
As the information was refined and verified, it was only included in the President’s Daily Brief, a key intelligence document, in early January – days after China informed global health officials of the new coronavirus outbreak.
However sources ‘described repeated briefings through December for policy-makers and decision-makers across the federal government as well as the National Security Council at the White House,’ according to the report.
The briefings of an issue the military needed to be aware of went back as far as late November, according to the report.
The National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), part of the nation’s sprawling military intelligence service, with offices in Ft. Detrick, Maryland, produced the report.
Medical staff transfer patients to Jinyintan hospital where patients infected with a new strain of Coronavirus identified as the cause of the Wuhan pneumonia outbreak are treated in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, 20 January 2020
An aerial view of the construction site of a field hospital for coronavirus patients in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. The Trump administration announced the Army Corps of Engineers would start standing up temporary hospitals in March
Pictures uploaded to social media on January 25, 2020 by the Central Hospital of Wuhan show medical staff attending to patients, in Wuhan, China, a site U.S. intelligence identified as the site of a contagion
President Trump has come under fire for his repeated assurances that the coronavirus would go away. He said Tuesday he needs to be a ‘cheerleader’ for the country
It wasn’t the only warning of the growing threat as the coronavirus outbreak spread and ultimately became a pandemic.
President Donald Trump’s trade adviser Peter Navarro issued his first grim warning in a memo dated January 29 – just days after the first COVID-19 cases were reported in the US.
At the time, Trump was publicly downplaying the risk that the novel coronavirus posed to Americans – though weeks later he would assert that no one could have predicted the devastation seen today.
Navarro penned a second memo about a month later on February 23, in which he warned that as many as two million Americans could die from the virus as it tightened its grip on the nation.
The memos were obtained by the New York Times and Axios on Monday, as the number of COVID-19 cases nationwide surpassed 368,200 with at least 11,000 deaths.
Navarro warned as many as 2 million Americans might die with trillions in economic impacts if action wasn’t taken.
‘The lack of immune protection or an existing cure or vaccine would leave Americans defenseless in the case of a full-blown coronavirus outbreak on U.S. soil,’ Navarro wrote.
‘This lack of protection elevates the risk of the coronavirus evolving into a full-blown pandemic, imperiling the lives of millions of Americans.’