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Reality Check of US Allegations Against China on COVID-19 (XII)
2020/05/12
 12. Allegation: Wuhan's revision of the numbers of confirmed cases and fatalities shows again that China covered up a large number of cases in the early days of COVID-19.

Reality Check: The data revision by Wuhan is a common international practice. As a matter of fact, it proves that China is open, transparent and responsible.

 

◆On 17 April, in accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, the Regulations on Preparedness for and Response to Emergent Public Health Hazards, the Regulations on the Implementation of the Statistics Law of the People's Republic of China, and the Rules on the Administration of Death Information Registration (for Trial Implementation), Wuhan issued a notification, revising up confirmed cases by 325 to a total of 50,333, and fatal cases by 1,290 to a total of 3,869.

◆It was out of a high sense of responsibility to history, to the people and to the lives lost to the coronavirus that Wuhan took the initiative to revise the numbers to reflect the facts it had gathered. The reason that caused the gap between the figures was four-fold:

First, when the city was first hit by the virus, hospitals were swamped due to the surge of patients. Some patients were thus unable to be hospitalized and passed away at home.

Second, during the peak of COVID-19, hospitals were running overloaded, and medical workers were preoccupied with providing treatment, which resulted in delayed, inadequate or inaccurate reporting of relevant cases.

Third, due to a subsequent rapid increase in medical institutions designated to treat COVID-19 patients, including both hospitals under the central, provincial, municipal and district governments, as well as hospitals run by companies, private hospitals and mobile hospitals, a small number of these institutions did not register with or report cases timely to the established information network.

Fourth, the information of some fatal cases was incomplete. Some of them were reported repeatedly or inaccurately.

◆To ensure the accuracy of the revised numbers, Wuhan set up a task force to look into the big data and epidemiology of the epidemic. Through on-line means, it carefully compared the number of confirmed and fatal cases to de-duplicate and complete the information by making full use of the city's epidemic big data system, funeral service information system, medical administration information system, and nucleic acid testing system for COVID-19. Through off-line means, it collected the full data from all places related to the disease without missing anyone, including fever clinics, hospitals, mobile hospitals, quarantine stations, communities having confirmed cases, as well as prisons, detention facilities, nursing homes and other special sites administered by government agencies of public security, judiciary and civil affairs. The information of every case was collected, and it was cross-checked with medical institutions, communities, community-level police stations, and patients' employers and families to ensure that the information of every individual case is accurate.

◆Revising statistical standards is a common international practice. For example, on 29 April, the UK government began to count fatal cases outside hospitals, and revised their figures accordingly. On 17 April, the Spanish government published an order for its autonomous regions to harmonize how they collect data and stated that the published numbers would be revised.

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