China adds 1,290 deaths to Wuhan's tally; admits past miscalculations
China, which has faced accusations of under-reporting cases during the coronavirus pandemic, has now admitted to some errors made in the past. Wuhan, where the outbreak started, on Friday raised its death toll by 1,290 or 50% of what was reported earlier. Denying Western influence as the reason for the update, the government claimed that Wuhan's medical system was simply overwhelmed at the time.
Wuhan's revised tally takes China's death toll to 4,632
With the latest addition of 1,290 deaths, Wuhan's death toll now stands at 3,869. Its fatality rate as per the latest figures is 7.7%. The city has notably reported a majority of China's deaths and with this development, the death toll in mainland China has been raised from 3,342 to 4,632. However, Wuhan only confirmed 325 additional cases, bringing its case tally to 50,333.
Government cites overworked hospitals as reason behind error
The Wuhan government said that the city's tally has been revised after including the deaths of those who failed to be admitted to hospitals since the "hospitals were overloaded and medical workers preoccupied." An editorial published in the state-run nationalistic tabloid Global Times refuted the allegations of deliberate fabrication of numbers. It also denied that "Western noise" caused China to revise its figures.
'People should have expected certain miscalculations'
The Global Times editorial stated, "Chaos easily led to mistakes and failures in reporting at the grassroots level." Deeming the revision a "responsible correction," it added, "At the grassroots level, there was discussion as to whether some patients died of coronavirus-driven pneumonia or not at the initial stage of the outbreak. People should have expected certain miscalculations regarding the death toll."
Nations are now holding China accountable
China has come under intense international scrutiny over its handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The United States has raised doubts about China's transparency and is probing whether the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, originated in a laboratory. It is believed that the virus emerged from a wet market in Wuhan. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also questioned the origins of the virus on Thursday.
Naive to think China handled outbreak well: French President
Speaking to the Financial Times, French President Emmanuel Macron said it would be "naive" to think China handled the outbreak well—as the World Health Organization (WHO) had once suggested. The global health body now stands accused of aiding China's alleged cover-up.
In early stages, China tried to cover up outbreak
Early on, authorities in Wuhan tried to cover up the outbreak by threatening doctors who tried to raise an alarm about a "SARS-like" virus as early as December. China has also been accused of under-reporting the number of infections as it repeatedly changed its counting criteria. In mid-February, it abruptly added 15,000 cases after it started counting patients who were diagnosed through lung imaging.
Counting criteria was later changed again
Thereafter, China's National Health Commission removed 108 deaths from the toll after noticing that some deaths in Hubei were counted twice. In late-February, China again stopped adding cases diagnosed through lung imaging.