Has China Been Hiding the Real COVID-19 Death Toll From the Rest of the World?

Published March 31st, 2020 - 08:10 GMT
Has China Been Hiding the Real COVID-19 Death Toll From the Rest of the World?
Claims of the alleged Chinese attempts to cover up the real numbers of victims have been widely supported by US officials. (AFP)

Despite Chinese authorities' daily updates being positive for a while now, reporting a clear slow in the number of people contracting the novel coronavirus, some Wuhan locals seem to have a different narrative.

While official numbers point at 82k confirmed cases and more than 3k deaths, most of which were reported in Wuhan city, the epicenter of COVID-19, some news sources have been suspecting that the number of the pandemic's victims in China might surpass tens of thousands, referring to numbers of cremation urns in Wuhan.

In China, a mortality rate of about 3% has been reported by official authorities, but local media outlets published pictures, taken last week, of long lines of people. They stated that thousands of people were instructed to visit 8 funeral homes in the city to pick up ashes of their loved ones who lost their lives to COVID-19. 

Beijing-based Caixin reported that trucks have "dropped off about 5k urns over two days to one funeral home only, while 3500 others were stacked in the facility," suggesting that the high number of urns is proof of a drastically high number of victims, as opposed to official figures.

According to Newsweek, Wuhan locals believe that about 26k people might have died of the coronavirus in the city.

Claims of the alleged Chinese attempts to cover up the real numbers of victims have been widely supported by US officials, who have repeatedly accused China of hiding crucial information related to the disease earlier this year, justifying the spiking number of cases in the US by the lack of credible updates from the country where the virus first emerged.

Human Rights Watch Director Kenneth Roth has also questioned the credibility of the official Chinese numbers, especially after Chinese officials have started removing viral funeral home photos. 

The deadly virus, generated in a wet market in Wuhan last December, before wreaking havoc across the world with about 35k victims worldwide, according to official numbers


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