China is finally starting to admit that the coronavirus infection and death toll it has been reporting might not be accurate. Chinese authorities have revised up their totals for Wuhan, but based on everything we’ve been hearing, it sounds like their numbers could still be off by quite a bit.
China revises coronavirus death, infection toll higher
In a statement shared via the state-run Xinhua news agency, China said it revised the number of infections in Wuhan up by 325 and the death toll in the city up by 1,290, bringing it to 3,869. Officials offered four reasons for the discrepancies in the data.
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The first reason for the changes is that a large number of people at the beginning of the epidemic overwhelmed the city's medical resources and the admission capacity of its hospitals. Officials also said some people died at home without seeking medical treatment.
The other discrepancy is also related to Wuhan hospitals' capacity for treating patients. They said the city's hospitals were "operating beyond their capacities, and medical staff were preoccupied with saving and treating patients, resulting in belated, missed and mistaken reporting.
Chinese authorities said the third reason is due to a sudden increase in the number of hospitals designated to treat coronavirus patients. They explained that some medical institutions weren't even linked to the epidemic information network, so they didn't report their data in time.
Finally, they said some deceased patients' registered information was incomplete, and there were some "repetitions and mistakes in the reporting."
How many more "mistakes"?
China's admission that its coronavirus infection number and death toll isn't accurate is a step in the right direction. However, it seems long overdue, and the official tally still doesn't seem right. The nation has officially reported 83,760 cases of COVID-19 among its population of 1.4 billion people.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has reported about 677,000 cases among a much smaller population of 328.2 million people. It's a similar story in other countries as well where the number of cases among their much smaller populations is much larger than China's number of cases among its massive population.
There have also been other signs that China's coronavirus infection and death toll are wrong. For example, Chinese-language news outlet Caixin reported last month that a single mortuary in Wuhan had 5,000 urns delivered in just two days. That suggests Wuhan's coronavirus death toll is still much larger than what China is letting on, and that says nothing about the rest of the country.
A growing number of reports suggest that China may not be mistaken about its coronavirus infection and death toll but is likely covering up the real numbers. U.S. intelligence also found that Beijing has probably been lying about its numbers.
Chinese officials have repeatedly denied claims that they're covering up the real numbers.
Investigation into source of COVID-19
U.S. authorities have called out China for not being totally honest about its coronavirus infection and death toll. If Beijing had been completely honest, the rest of the world could have been better prepared to fight the virus. Because the numbers are so low, COVID-19 initially seemed like less of a threat than it really is.
The numbers of infections and deaths from the coronavirus in China aren't the only thing U.S. authorities have been investigating. On Thursday, it was revealed that officials are also looking into reports that COVID-19 leaked from a lab in Wuhan rather than originating at the wet food market, as Beijing has claimed.