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China lied and people died

City where outbreak first started says 1,290 more people died of COVID-19 in sudden revision of numbers – an increase of 50%.

coronavirus
Photo: Griffin Wooldridge

China forgot to count and tell the world about 1,290 deaths from coronavirus that were instead classified as ‘death by natural causes’, effectively increasing the death toll by 50%.

Wuhan, the sprawling capital of Central China’s Hubei province where the COVID-19 pandemic started, has just “revised” its number of confirmed cases, confirming concerns that figures from China were under-reported.

The number of COVID-19 confirmed cases increased by 325 to 50,333, and the number of fatalities went up by 1,290. The adjustment, detailed in a social media posting by the city government on Friday, increased the death toll by about 50 %, bringing the total to 3,869.

Chinese authorities explained the revision by noting that some hospitals were overwhelmed early in the outbreak, leading to cases being incorrectly reported, delayed or omitted.

Even as the State’s agency reported the revised figures, people remained sceptical. One Twitter response read: “Multiplying these figures by 40 at least might give a result closer to reality.” Others agreed the increase was not even close to the real figures.

The revision came as a number of world leaders suggested China had not been entirely open about the full domestic impact of a virus that has now killed more than 140,000 people around the world, and confined half of humanity to their homes.

China released videos of smiling nurses on the steps of hospitals and hotels the country claimed were built in 10 days, some of which collapsed soon after. But the line-up of smiling faces taking off their masks was meant to send a message to the world that the virus was under control.

As Europe and the rest of the world started to bear the brunt of the pandemic, China launched a public relations offensive that said a country that had mastered the situation and was now benevolently helping others in need, including Malta.

Twitter was flooded with fake accounts from ‘Chinese citizens’ that promoted fake news of Europeans expressing their gratitude to China. So Italians singing Nessun Dorma from their balconies were instead falsely spread as news of a nation grateful to China singing the Chinese anthem.

Data emerging from China indicates that the Chinese State had clear information about the emergence of a new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like virus as early as November 2019.

By December 2019, genomics laboratories in Wuhan had already sequenced the new virus and found that it resembled SARS, the virus that China also initially covered up and that went on to kill nearly 800 people in 2002 – 2003.

Researchers have concluded that had the Chinese government taken drastic action just one week earlier than they did, worldwide cases of COVID-19 would have been cut by 66%. Had it taken such action just two weeks earlier, the entire pandemic would likely have been averted altogether with a shocking 95% reduction.

In an interview with the Financial Times, French President Emmanuel Macron said it would be “naive” to think China had handled the pandemic well, adding: “There are clearly things that have happened that we don’t know about.”

Evidence of government cover-ups is rife, from the silencing of initial whistleblowers to the revelation that political leaders hushed up the crisis. Distrust of official tallies runs deep.

Extrapolating from their experiences of being turned away when seeking medical care, promises of hush money for quiet burials of loved ones and large spikes in the number of ash urns being bought, Wuhan residents have spoken openly about their belief that the real case count and the death toll must be higher than reported.

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