Officials Bump Wuhan Death Toll Up By 50%
Mary Margaret Olohan on April 17, 2020
Chinese officials announced an additional 1,290 deaths that had not been initially included in Wuhan death tolls Friday, increasing the city’s previous stated death toll by 50%.
State media announced Friday that almost 1,300 people who died of coronavirus in Wuhan were not counted in death tolls previously announced, NBC News reported. These additional numbers increase Wuhan’s death toll by 50% to 3,869 deaths, according to NBC.
A Wuhan official reportedly blamed the under-reporting on several medical institutions failing to report deaths in a timely manner.
“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 media reported that an unidentified Wuhan official said, according to NBC.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also blamed late reporting from medical workers, NBC reported, saying Friday: “Medical workers at some facilities might have been preoccupied with saving lives and there existed delayed reporting, underreporting or misreporting, but there has never been any cover-up and we do not allow cover-ups.”
News of China’s under-reporting came after weeks of rumors that China has many more victims than the country has announced — rumors fueled by photos of thousands of urns at funeral homes waiting to be filled with cremated ashes of victims, as well as photos of people waiting in long lines to gather the ashes of their cremated relatives, NBC reported.
The news also came after the United States accused China of mishandling the pandemic by failing to warn the rest of the world about the virus and purposefully misrepresenting the number of deaths and cases within the country. Bejiing has denied that this is the case, NBC reported. The U.S. Intelligence community reportedly concluded in mid-March that China was falsifying data on coronavirus, prompting the CIA to look into the numbers as well.
President Donald Trump has not directly criticized China in recent weeks, but he frequently has criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for being “China-centric,” and cut off U.S. funding for the WHO on Tuesday.
“The WHO’s reliance on China’s disclosures likely caused a twenty-fold increase in cases worldwide, and it may be much more than that,” Trump said Tuesday. “The WHO has not addressed a single one of these concerns nor provided a serious explanation that acknowledges its own mistakes, of which there are many.”
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