Health authorities in Wuhan, China have revised the death toll from the coronavirus upwards by over 50 per cent. Wuhan’s Epidemic Prevention and Control Center said on Friday that 3,869 people had died from the disease in the city as of Thursday, according to state media.
Fatalities are up by 1,290 compared to previous data.
The number of cases overall in Wuhan was revised 50,333 – an increase of 325.
The authorities said the revision was made in order to include patients who were not treated at hospitals and passed away at home, since medical facilities faced a shortage of resources during the early stage of the outbreak.
At the peak of the epidemic in early 2020, hospitals were overloaded, with medics preoccupied with saving patients’ lives, leading to delays and oversight in reporting the cases, the authorities said. Some facilities also failed to connect with the wider epidemic network immediately, while information related to fatalities was incomplete and led to misreporting or repeated counts.
First detected in Hubei, over 2 million people globally have been infected with Covid-19, whilst over 144,000 have died from the SARS-like disease according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
US President Donald Trump said on April 1 that the coronavirus death toll and infections reported by China “seem to be little bit on the light side.” However, Robert O’Brien – Trump’s national security adviser – said in the same press briefing that Washington was “just not [in] the position to confirm any of the numbers that are coming out of China.”
Wuhan, once the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, lifted its two-month lockdown last Wednesday. Citizens were allowed to leave the city, as long as they had a green QR code on their mobile phones to prove they were healthy and safe to travel.
Around a week before the shutdown was lifted, police and citizens of Hubei and Jiangxi provinces clashed over the reopening of the provincial border. Videos widely circulated on social media showed officers from Hubei clashing with law enforcement personnel from the neighbouring province who wanted to keep the border closed.
Last Friday, Bloomberg reported that dozens of small shop owners in Wuhan staged a protest outside one of the city’s largest shopping malls to demand rent relief. The demonstration revealed signs of frustration in the city that was hard hit by the coronavirus.