China Revises Wuhan’s COVID-19 Death Toll Up 50% To 3,896

Officials from the city government of Wuhan, China have revised the total death toll from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, up an additional 1,290 deaths to 3,896.

This revision represents a 50% increase in the total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19. Wuhan, which is the provincial capitol of the Hubei province of China and home 11 million residents, is where the coronavirus epidemic that’s sweeping the globe began, with the virus being identified after a cluster of severe pneumonia cases were reported on December 31, 2019.

Since those first cases in late 2019, there have been more than 2.2 million confirmed cases of the illness and more than 149,000 fatalities worldwide

Officials say that the nearly 1,300 newly announced fatal cases were not initially reported because they were missed or ‘mistakenly reported’. This admission of error comes amid increased speculation about China’s transparency as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic. China insists that there has been no deliberate cover-up.

The revision increases Wuhan’s total death toll by 50% and the national death toll by 39%, representing a substantial jump. 

The number of confirmed cases was also revised up by 325, making the new total 50,333.

Approximately two-thirds of China’s total positive cases are from the city of Wuhan. 

Around the world, increased skepticism about China’s transparency have led to added pressure on the at times secretive country. China is accused of downplaying the overall severity of its coronavirus outbreak and the United States is probing the theory that the virus may have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan as opposed to a wet market that China claims to be the source.

A wet market is a type of food market that allows customers to purchase exotic wild animals for consumption. 

Dr. Tedros Adhonom, The World Health Organization’s Director General has applauded China for “commitment to transparency” and the “speed with which [it] detected the outbreak,” but US President Donald Trump says that WHO has been too trusting of China.

“Do you really believe those numbers in this vast country called China, and that they have a certain number of cases and a certain number of deaths; does anybody really believe that?” President Trump asked at a press briefing at the White House last Wednesday.

Other western powers, including France and The United Kingdom, have echoed that sentiment.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Thursday: “We’ll have to ask the hard questions about how [coronavirus] came about and how it couldn’t have been stopped earlier.”

Officials at Wuhan’s epidemic prevention and control headquarters say that the numbers were originally misreported due to the city’s hospital staff operating in a chaotic, overwhelming environment, late reporting, omissions in reporting, and pointed to some victims of COVID-19 passing away at home, likely resulting in their deaths not being reported correctly.

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