90 Miles From Tyranny : This Is How China Is Hiding The True Number Of Coronavirus Deaths

Saturday, January 25, 2020

This Is How China Is Hiding The True Number Of Coronavirus Deaths






As the world's cortisol and stomach acid levels rise every hour in parallel with the number of officially reported Coronavirus infections (and deaths), which as of Saturday morning was roughly 1,400...Source: Johns Hopkins GIS and Data.

... the world has an unpleasant flashback to 2003 when for weeks Beijing would lie and hide the full extent of the SARS epidemic to avoid risking a social panic. To be sure, this time China has done its best to pretend it has learned from the past and it is so transparent, even President Xi Jinping warned that the country is facing a "grave situation", and that the spread of the deadly virus is accelerating after holding a special government meeting on the Lunar New Year public holiday.

After staying largely silent in public about the outbreak since it first emerged in central China last month, Xi on Saturday convened a special meeting of the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, calling for a more centralized response to the epidemic and asserting personal responsibility in addressing the crisis.

"When an epidemic breaks out, a command is issued. It is our responsibility to prevent and control it," Xi said, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. He called for the new high-level committee to "address concerns within and outside the country,” indirectly referencing mounting global concern about the epidemic, which Mr. Xi described as a “grave situation” that was accelerating. “We definitely can win the battle to contain the epidemic,” he vowed.

That remains to be seen: as reported earlier, in China - which has put over 56 million people on lockdown quarantine - the coronavirus has killed at least 41 people and infected over 1,400 in China. Ominously, a UK researcher predicted that the Coronavirus would infect over 250,000 people in China in under two weeks, which has sparked a renewed fear that China will once again try to underrepresent the true severity of the diseases until it is too late.
A patient at the Zhongnan Hospital of China’s Wuhan University

The problem is that even as China theatrically pretends to be so forthright about the extent of the epidemic - if only to avoid panic and chaos over allegations it is again hiding the full impact of the disease - it is doing precisely that, and now we know just how it is doing that: instead of putting down coronavirus as the cause of death for an unknown number of Wuhan casualties, China's coroners and hospitals merely ascribe death to "viral pneumonia", case closed.

Here's how the WSJ describes this treacherous "bait and switch":
A 53-year-old fitness trainer died on Wednesday after checking into a hospital in Wuhan a little more than a week earlier, said his niece. His family had expected the death certificate to reflect the deadly coronavirus, because as his condition deteriorated, his doctors told his family he was suffering from an untreatable virus in his lungs.

Instead, it recorded “severe pneumonia” as the cause of death, she said. The relatives of two other people who died in separate hospitals in Wuhan this week also described similar situations, saying the causes of death had been given as “viral pneumonia.”

Why did the hospital do this? Because as the relatives of all three now dead people said, the deceased hadn’t been included in China’s official count of 41 deaths attributed to coronavirus.

And that's how China is suppressing the full extent of nCoV's lethality, and keeping the mortality rate of the coronavirus artificially low: “There are likely to be many times more cases in Wuhan than officially confirmed,” said Neil Ferguson, a disease modeler at Imperial College London, who echoed the forecast of Jonathan Read, and estimated as many as 4,000 people may have been infected in Wuhan. “Clearly, the hospitals are overwhelmed.”

What's worse is that if there are indeed 4,000 injected already, then the previously discussed catastrophic forecast of 250,000 cases by Feb 4 may be overly optimistic by half.

The official numbers are far lower of course: on Saturday morning, local time, the number of confirmed global infections had risen to at least 1,438, nearly doubling from the previous day. Comically, China has said it would hold officials accountable for any delays or omissions in reporting cases: so far such threats appear to have had precisely zero impact on anyone.

Others have confirmed as much: as the WSJ reports, "some Chinese media with reporters on the ground in Wuhan have said they have found cases that weren’t included in...

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