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China’s officially reported death rate from the virus has held at around 4.1 percent for the past several weeks, according to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins University, while Germany’s reported death rate is at 1.2 percent, the U.S. rate is at 2.2 percent, Iran’s reported rate is at 6.4 percent, and hard-hit Italy reports a death rate of 11.9 percent.
“They are suspect,” Baier said of China’s figures, noting that White House task force member Dr. Deborah Birx has said China’s reported figures are smaller than projected.
“It’s not the only country that is doing that,” Baier added. “Russia’s numbers are really skewed. North Korea said they had one case and I don’t think that’s accurate. Iran[‘s data is] very skeptical as well.”
Baier also noted that President Trump has appeared to soften his rhetoric about China in recent days, having made a point until recently of calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus.”
Recently, Trump’s language has been somewhat more subdued, and he has spoken openly about having a warm relationship with the country’s president, Xi Jinping.
“It’s interesting to listen to the presidentkind of dial back his rhetoric on China,” Baier said. “I wonder whether that has something to do with other conversations or other things going on but this story about China and the origin of this virus is a very big element of this.”