The number of coronavirus infections in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the disease was first discovered, may have been more than 10 times what the official figures showed, according to a study by researchers.
According to a report from AFP News Agency, this disclosure is contained in a report by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control (CDC), which suggested that about 4.4% of the Wuhan’s 11 million residents had developed antibodies against the virus causing Covid-19 by April.
This comes to around 480,000 infections in Wuhan by April, which is almost 10 times the official tally to date of 50,000 cases in the city.
This study is coming ahead of next month’s visit by a team of international scientists to Wuhan to investigate the origins of the virus and follows months of negotiations with the Chinese government, who had been reluctant to agree to an independent inquiry.
China does not include asymptomatic cases in its official tally, which could also explain the discrepancy between the total confirmed cases and the actual number infected.
What some experts are saying
A senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, Huang Yanzhong, said that:
“The discrepancy revealed by the CDC’s data may point to potential underreporting due to the chaos in late January and early February when a large number of people were not tested or were not tested accurately for Covid-19.’’
Qin Ying, a serological expert from the CDC, said on Wednesday that disparities in data were not unique to China.
- “Several countries have already published similar serological surveys and… in most instances the number of people with antibodies against the coronavirus was several times higher than the confirmed case count. So this kind of disparity is a widespread phenomenon.“
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the coronavirus pandemic, which had killed over 1.7 million people globally was first detected in the city of Wuhan, in China.
- China has been faced with a lot of criticisms, both locally and internationally, over its initial handling of the virus, which includes failure to report any of the cases for days in early January and even attempts to silence whistle-blowers.
- However, despite being initially the epicentre of the pandemic, China has largely been able to successfully contain the spread of the virus at home, and was the only major economy to report positive economic growth this year as restrictions on businesses and internal travel were lifted.
- The total number of confirmed cases in China stands at 87,027 with 4,634 deaths, according to data from the National Health Commission on Wednesday.