The coronavirus death toll in the Chinese city of Wuhan has jumped by over 50 percent overnight after officials released revised statistics and added 1,290 more COVID-19 fatalities.
The new total, which brings the number of deaths in Wuhan to 3,869, comes amid growing scrutiny and doubt over the Chinese government’s transparency and accuracy over its case reporting.
Wuhan’s coronavirus disease prevention command centre, in the central Chinese province of Hubei, said the death toll had been undercounted especially during the early stages of the outbreak due to hospitals being overwhelmed and health workers “focused on saving lives”.
An unnamed official told Chinese state media today (17th April): “Due to limited admission and treatment capabilities, a few medical facilities were not able to connect to the disease-prevention information system in time.
“As hospitals operated at overcapacity, health workers focused on saving lives. This resulted in belated, missed or inaccurate reporting.”
Wuhan’s new death toll, up from 2,579, accounts for 83 percent of China’s total reported fatalities of 4,636, according to the latest data compiled by John Hopkins University.
The total number of confirmed cases in the city of 11 million was also revised to 50,333, an increase of 325.
The official added that the new statistics were compiled using additional big data, and now includes non-hospital deaths, funeral service information and COVID-19 fatalities in care homes.
Double-counted cases were also subtracted when cross-checking nucleic acid test records.
The work to ‘fill in the reporting gap’ involved retrieving records from fever clinics, hospitals, field hospitals, quarantine zones, gated communities and police, the official said.
The statement in state media read: “The novel coronavirus outbreak is the most infectious, widespread and difficult to manage public health incident ever faced by modern China.
“As Wuhan served as the main battlefield against the disease, the provincial government imposed the most comprehensive, thorough and strictest control measures.
“With the spread of the disease now basically stopped, and travel restrictions out of Wuhan lifted, we are now undergoing a city-wide revision of epidemic data.
“The purpose of this data is public health, and to increase trust in government.”
China’s total recorded COVID-19 cases now stands at 82,367, with Wuhan accounting for over 60 percent.
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