CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK MUCH WORSE IN SHANDONG, CHINA THAN OFFICIALLY REPORTED
The novel coronavirus outbreak in eastern China’s Shandong Province is much worse than what has been officially reported, according to a series of internal government documents obtained by The Epoch Times.
Each day from Feb. 9 to Feb. 23, Shandong authorities underreported the number of infections, according to internal data compiled by the Shandong Center for Disease Prevention and Control (SCDC). The SCDC kept a tally of the number of people who tested positive for the virus during nucleic acid testing—using a diagnostic kit to test patient samples and detect whether they contain the virus’s genetic sequence.
The SCDC’s daily new infection numbers ranged from 1.36 times to 52 times greater than the officially published data by the Shandong health commission and China’s National Health Commission.
As of Feb. 25, the Shandong government stated that there were a total of 755 infections in the province. But the internal document showed that 1,992 people had tested positive for the virus via nucleic acid testing as of Feb. 23.
The government publicly stated that there were four newly diagnosed patients on Feb. 22, but the internal document said that there were 61 positive tests that day.
In recent days, official data has shown new infections leveling off. For example, on Feb. 25, the National Health Commission reported only a total of nine new diagnosed cases outside of Hubei Province, where the outbreak is most severe.
In fact, Shandong alone had new infections in the double-digits daily. On Feb. 20, new infections spiked, with 274 people testing positive.
To date, it’s the most definitive evidence that Chinese authorities routinely underreport cases. Previously, The Epoch Times interviewed workers at funeral homes in the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, who said they had to work around the clock to keep up with the dramatic increase in workload.
Health experts have also hypothesized that Chinese official figures are inaccurate, based on their statistical modeling. Recently, a group of U.S. researchers published a study, not yet peer-reviewed, in which they suggested cumulative infections and deaths in China could be “substantially higher” than officially stated—by a factor of 5 to 10.
U.S.-based China commentator Tang Jingyuan told The Epoch Times that authorities reporting fewer infections is likely a tactic to convince Chinese citizens that the spread of the virus was contained and thus, it would be safe to return to work.
Chinese businesses were closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, which was extended in order to prevent cross-infection in the workplace. The central government, fearing the economic inactivity could have long-term ramifications, asked firms to resume operations on Feb. 10.
“[Beijing] is trying to create an image that most of the country is safe enough to resume production,” Tang said.
(Excerpt from The Epoch Times. Article by Nicole Hao.)
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