The Chinese city of Wuhan – ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic – has revised its fatality count, increasing the total by just shy of 1,300 deaths, which officials say went unreported due to “delays” and “omissions.”
Authorities in Wuhan added another 1,290 deaths to the city’s death toll on Friday, putting the overall figures at 50,333 infections and 3,869 fatalities in the virus’ first epicenter. The revision was necessary to “address incorrect reporting, delays and omissions of cases,” city officials said, with the new numbers increasing Wuhan’s death tally by some 50 percent.
“In the early stage of the epidemic, due to insufficient capacity for admission and treatment, a small number of medical institutions failed to connect with the disease prevention and control information system in a timely manner,” Wuhan health officials said, adding that a “statistical investigation” had been conducted to correct the figures.
The coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan took hold sometime late last year, allegedly linked to a wildlife market in the city. The outbreak has progressed to a global health crisis, infecting more than 2.1 million people and killing nearly 145,000 worldwide.
Through a series of aggressive quarantine measures, China was able to stem the spread of the virus in March at around 85,000 cases, seeing only a trickle of new patients in recent weeks, while Europe and the United States have since become the top hotspots for the lethal pathogen.
China’s comparatively low fatality figures – which never broke 5,000 overall – have prompted accusations from US officials, who insist the country vastly underreported deaths and new cases and that Beijing conspired with the World Health Organization to “cover up” the extent of its crisis. Little evidence has been brought to support the assertion, however.
The US, meanwhile, has struggled to get its outbreak under control, foregoing a nationwide quarantine while leaving containment measures largely up to state governments. Despite the White House’s impatience to reopen the US economy, President Donald Trump on Thursday allowed the states to decide when to lift their lockdowns, cutting against his previous eagerness to ease the restrictions as soon as possible.