News & Politics

China Comes Clean on Coronavirus Death Toll — Sort Of

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, medical personnel wearing protective suits work in the department of infectious diseases at Wuhan Union Hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (Xiao Yijiu/Xinhua via AP)

The Chinese Communist government raised the death toll in Wuhan — the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak — by 50 percent following the statements of experts around the world for the last several weeks who said that the Chinese numbers were cooked.

Fox News:

The city where the coronavirus outbreak is believed to have originated is now reporting 3,869 deaths after adding 1,290 to its previously-announced figure. Numbers of total cases in the city of 11 million were also raised by 325 to 50,333, accounting for about two-thirds of China’s total 82,367 announced cases.

As you would completely expect, the government’s explanation is, well, less than satisfactory.

Chinese state media claimed Friday that the reason for the sudden leap was that medical facilities were overwhelmed during the peak of the outbreak and because of that, “belated, missed and mistaken reporting occurred.”

“Due to the insufficiency in admission and treatment capability, a few medical institutions failed to connect with the disease prevention and control system in time, while hospitals were overloaded and medics were overwhelmed with patients,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported, attributing the comments to an unidentified official with Wuhan’s epidemic and prevention and control headquarters.

I suppose it’s better than “the dog ate the paperwork (before we ate the dog)” but not by much.

It’s still amazing that the 3,800 deaths in Wuhan represent two-thirds of all deaths from the Chinese virus in China, which is why the “official” numbers are still suspect. And as long as China is in the mood to be transparent, why not give the world a peek into the workings of that laboratory where the virus was supposedly being studied?

There have been whistleblowers in Wuhan who disappeared months ago and are still missing. Their attempts to tell the world about Chinese government lies probably cost them their lives. And some of the families of the dead in Wuhan have been silenced under bribery or threat.

“There have been a lot of funerals in the past few days, and the authorities are handing out 3,000 yuan in hush money to families who get their loved ones remains laid to rest ahead of Qing Ming,” Wuhan resident Chen Yaohui had said. “It’s to stop them keeing (a traditional expression of grief); nobody’s allowed to keen after [the festival] Qing Ming has passed.”

In early April, three U.S. intelligence officials also called China’s math into question.

In a classified report sent to the White House, the officials had said that China’s public record of COVID-19 infections was deliberately deceptive and incomplete.

The Chinese Communists have a long way to go in “correcting the record” before anything they say about the virus will have a grain of credibility. Many experts around the world, including U.S. intelligence agencies, believe the real death toll in China is in the tens of thousands. We’ll never know the true cost in human lives of China’s paranoia, just like we’ll never know the actual number of people murdered in Tiananmen Square in 1989, or the real number of famine deaths in the early 1960s, which could have been 50 million.

Totalitarian regimes collect secrets and guard them with the full power of the state. The Communists simply can’t afford to have the truth of this secret revealed.

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