China Raises Coronavirus Death Toll by 50% in Wuhan

China on Friday raised its coronavirus death toll by 50 percent in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak first emerged, amid accusations that the government had concealed the extent of the epidemic.Officials placed the new tally at 3,869 deaths from the coronavirus in the central Chinese city, an increase of 1,290 from the previous figure. The number of cumulative confirmed infections in the city was also revised upward to 50,333, an increase of 325.The move appeared to be a response to growing questions about the accuracy of China’s official numbers and calls to hold the country responsible for a global health crisis that has killed more than 142,000 people and caused a worldwide economic slowdown.China has been criticized as having initially mismanaged and concealed the extent of the epidemic, though it ultimately swung into action and seemingly tamed the virus. Recently, as other countries have grappled with their own outbreaks, Chinese officials have come under even greater pressure to explain how exactly the epidemic unfolded in Wuhan.“They are on the defensive, clearly,” said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political science professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and an expert on Chinese politics. “It’s an uphill battle now for China to improve its image.”In an interview Friday with the official Xinhua news agency, an unidentified official from Wuhan’s epidemic command center said that revising the figures was important for protecting the “credibility of the government” and “maintaining respect for each individual life.”The local authorities say the new totals were reached after a detailed investigation and now include deaths at home from the virus that went unreported in the early days of the outbreak and deaths that were incorrectly reported by hospitals. After reaching a peak in February, the epidemic appears to be controlled for now in China, and restrictions in Wuhan have been loosening this month.Experts say the revisions are not unusual. Many countries are probably underreporting their official tallies of infections and deaths, in part because of problems with testing and the speed with which the virus has overwhelmed public health care systems.Still, the changes to the official figures are small enough that they are unlikely to quash lingering doubts about their veracity.

Source: China Raises Coronavirus Death Toll by 50% in Wuhan