Wuhan’s revised COVID-19 death toll up by 50%

Wuhan: Wuhan city, the capital of China’s Hubei province where the global coronavirus pandemic originated last December, on Friday revised the number of deaths caused by the disease in the city, leading to some 50 per cent increase in the figures.

The revised death toll is 3,869, which is 1,290 more than the 2,579 reported barely hours earlier by the National Health Commission, which had pegged the number of fatalities for Hubei province to 3,222, reports Efe news.

The Wuhan authorities have also revised the total number of COVID-19 cases, revealing another 325 previously unreported cases, which took the total number to 50,333, Xinhua news agency reported.

In an announcement, the Wuhan municipal headquarters for the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control said the revisions were made as per the laws and regulations concerned, and out of the principle of being responsible for history, the people and the deceased.

It added that this would ensure that the information on the city’s COVID-19 epidemic was open and transparent, and the data accurate.

Moreover, it gave four reasons for the “discrepancies” in the figures.

The first reason was that “a surging number of patients at the early stage of the epidemic overwhelmed medical resources and the admission capacity of medical institutions,” resulting in some deaths at home without treatment in hospitals.

The second reason was that at the peak of the epidemic in the city, “hospitals were operating beyond their capacities and medical staff were preoccupied with saving and treating patients, resulting in belated, missed and mistaken reporting.”

The third reason given was that due to a rapid increase of designated hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients – including provincial, municipal, private and makeshift ones – some medical institutions were “not linked to the epidemic information network and failed to report their data in time.”

The final reason given was “the registered information of some of the deceased patients was incomplete, and there were repetitions and mistakes in the reporting”.

An official of the headquarters told the media that a group for epidemic-related big data and epidemiological investigations was established in late March.

The group used information from online systems and collected full information from all epidemic-related locations to ensure that facts about every case are accurate and every figure is objective and correct, the official said.

“What lies behind epidemic data are the lives and health of the general public, as well as the credibility of the government,” said the official, adding that the timely revision of the figures, among other things, shows respect for every single life.

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