The China’s city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus debuted last year, has increased its official death rate by 50%, adding to the deaths of 1,290 people.
Wuhan authorities said the new figure reported a resurgence in reported deaths and deaths outside hospitals. China insisted there was no cover.
It is suspected that the viral outbreak is undermined.
11 million Wuhan residents spend months under strict conditions of detention, recently released.
The latest high figures bring the death toll to the central city of Hubei China to 3,869, bringing the national population to more than 4,600.
China has confirmed nearly 84,000 coronavirus infections, the seventh highest in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The virus has had a major impact on China’s economy, which first appeared in decades in the first quarter of the year.
What is China’s definition of increased mortality?
In a statement released Friday, officials in Wuhan said the updated figures were the result of new data obtained from multiple sources, including records kept by funeral homes and prisons.
Deaths related to the virus outside hospitals, such as those who died at home, had never been documented before.
“The statistical verification” followed the management’s efforts “to make sure the details of the Covid-19 epidemic were open, transparent and accurate [,],” the statement said.
It added that health systems were initially frustrated and cases were “accidentally reported” – in some cases more often than others and completely missed.
The lack of test scores in the initial stages means that most patients with the virus were not counted.
China’s National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng said the new death toll came from a “comprehensive review” of the epidemiological data.
In its daily news conference, the foreign minister said the accusations of a cover-up, made globally by US President Donald Trump, were meaningless. “We will not allow any hiding,” a party spokesman said.
Why are there concerns about China’s statistics?
Friday’s updated figures come amid growing international concern that there is a death toll in China. Questions have also been raised about Beijing’s handling of the epidemic, especially in the early stages.
In December of 2019, Chinese authorities began an investigation of mysterious viral pneumonia after cases began circulating in Wuhan.
China reported the cases to the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN’s international health agency, on December 31.
But WHO experts were only allowed to visit China and investigate the outbreak of violence on 10 February, when the country had more than 40,000 cases.
The mayor of Wuhan has previously acknowledged that there was a mismatch between cases in early January – when nearly 100 cases had been confirmed – and 23 January, when city limits were set.
About that time, a doctor trying to warn his colleagues of the outbreak of a virus like Sars was silenced by the authorities. Dr. Li Wenliang was later killed by Covid-19.
An increase in Wuhan’s death rate by almost 50% left some commentators wondering if all this was pure.
For months, questions have been raised about the authenticity of official Chinese statistics.
Of note is that some Chinese officials may have deliberately reported the killings and the deliberate infection to give the impression that cities and towns were effectively treating the emergencies.
If that were the case, then Chinese officials would have no idea how bad the problem would be in other countries, making its numbers now seem trivial.
Authorities in Wuhan, where the disease first coincided, said there had never been a deliberate misinterpretation, rather that emergency stabilization allowed them time to reconsider reported cases and to add any previous errors.
The release of a new death toll at the same time as the press conference reports that the decline in China’s economy has led some to wonder whether this was a deliberate attempt to bury one or more of these issues.
Then again, and it can be a totally random thing.
But China has also been praised for its handling of the problem and unprecedented restrictions that set it on slowing the spread of the virus. The WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told China about “the speed at which [they] would find the outbreak” and “their obvious commitment.
US President Donald Trump this week suspended the WHO’s support, blaming it for making fatal mistakes and over-confidenting China.
“Do you really believe those numbers in this great country called China, and that they have a certain number of cases and a certain number of deaths; does anyone really believe that?” Mr Trump made the remarks at the White House on Wednesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron also questioned China’s administration and the outbreak of coronavirus, saying it was “absurd” to show that the country was better off with the problem, saying things had “happened that we didn’t know about”.
On Thursday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “We will have to ask tough questions about how [the coronavirus] happened and how it was stopped earlier.”