Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

China Revises Coronavirus Death Toll in Wuhan up 50%

Politics
China Revises Coronavirus Death Toll in Wuhan up 50%
A man bows in front of flowers and a photo of the late ophthalmologist Li Wenliang outside the Houhu Branch of Wuhan Central Hospital in China's central Hubei province on Feb. 7, 2020. Li, a doctor who was punished for raising the alarm about the new coronavirus, died on Feb. 7 after being infected by the pathogen. STR / AFP via Getty Images

Officials in China have revised the total death toll from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the city where the infectious disease was first reported. The new numbers that China released Friday increase the number of COVID-19 deaths by 1,290, or a 50 percent increase, as CNN reported.


They also added 325 infections to the city's tally of positive cases, bringing the official number to 50,333, with 3,869 deaths. The previous reported death toll for Wuhan was 2,579, according to CNN.

That pushes China's national total up to 4,600 deaths. China has confirmed nearly 84,000 coronavirus infections, the seventh-highest globally, according to Johns Hopkins University data, as the BBC reported.

Officials in Wuhan said the newly released numbers now include those who died at home during the beginning of the outbreak, as well as deaths that had not been properly reported by hospitals or registered on death certificates, according to The New York Times.

However, those numbers seem circumspect to the international community, which has accused China of downplaying the severity of the outbreak. China, however, insists it has not covered anything up and has touted the efficacy of its restrictive lockdowns in Wuhan, which lasted for months and have only recently eased, according to the BBC. On Friday, China reported 26 new infections, the lowest daily number in more than two weeks, according to The Guardian.

China's handling and reporting of the outbreak has drawn the ire of several prominent political leaders around the world. Dominic Raab, Britain's foreign secretary, told Reuters on Thursday that China would have to answer "hard questions" after the crisis about how the pandemic came about and how it could have been stopped earlier. President Emmanuel Macron of France told The Financial Times that "there are clearly things that have happened that we don't know about," as The New York Times reported.

On Thursday, however, China's President Xi Jinpeng responded to some of the criticism, particularly from President Donald Trump who had recently accused China of not sharing data in a timely fashion. Xi, in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, called such accusations counterproductive, as The Guardian reported. Putin agreed.

Xi said politicizing the pandemic was "detrimental to international cooperation," according to state-run news agency Xinhua, The Guardian reported. According to the agency, Putin said "attempts by some people to smear China" were "unacceptable."

Of course, the latest change in numbers to the official death toll could renew skepticism about China's openness. Officials said that the figures had been revised to show "accountability to history, to the people and the victims," as well as to ensure "open and transparent disclosure of information and data accuracy," as CNN reported.

The way China counted coronavirus infections actually changed three times in January and February, leading to confusion about what exactly was happening in Wuhan. One area of criticism has been the reluctance to count people who tested positive but were asymptomatic, making it impossible to compare the number of infections with international data, according to CNN.

As the BBC reported, China reported the cases to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31, but WHO experts were only allowed to visit China and first investigate the outbreak on Feb. 10, when China had more than 40,000 cases.

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
Trending
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less