Coronavirus: China's Wuhan city raises death toll by 50% citing early lapses
China’s Wuhan death toll spiked by 50% as authorities reported 1,290 delayed and omitted fatalities.
Beijing: The Chinese city of Wuhan raised its death toll from the novel coronavirus by 50% on Friday, bringing its total to 3,869, amid doubts about the accuracy of China’s data on the disease as global cases mount.
The central city where the virus first appeared in humans late last year added another 1,290 fatalities to the 2,579 previously counted as of Thursday, reflecting incorrect reporting, delays and omissions, according to a local government taskforce in charge of controlling the coronavirus.
Reflecting the additional deaths in Wuhan, China revised up its national death toll later on Friday to 4,632.
The revision follows widespread speculation that Wuhan’s death toll was significantly higher than reported.
Rumours of more victims have for weeks been fuelled by pictures of long queues of family members waiting to collect ashes of cremated relatives and reports of thousands of urns stacked at a funeral home waiting to be filled.
“In the early stage, due to limited hospital capacity and the shortage of medical staff, a few medical institutions failed to connect with local disease control and prevention systems in a timely manner, which resulted in delayed reporting of confirmed cases and some failures to count patients accurately,” state broadcaster CGTN quoted an unidentified Wuhan official as saying.
Suspicion that China has not been transparent about the outbreak has risen in recent days, with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressing scepticism about its previously declared death toll of about 3,000.
“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?” Trump said.
Some experts, however, believe fatality numbers in many other countries fail to show the real toll because some people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, without being tested or going to hospital, so are not included in coronavirus tallies.
Wuhan’s total number of cases was revised up by 325, suggesting that some of the new deaths had been recorded as cases but not confirmed as fatalities, taking the total number of cases in the city of 11 million people to 50,333, or about 60% of mainland China’s total.