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Is China fudging coronavirus numbers?

in Crisis & Natural Disasters by

Tencent leak of coronavirus deaths, infections may show much higher count than official reports

In what has been said was a slip up by Tencent, the Chinese-based tech company briefly listed over 154,023 infections and 24,589 deaths from the Wuhan, China strain (2019nCoV) of the coronavirus.

This weekend, on Tencent’s webpage, “Epidemic Situation Tracker,” the numbers of those infected and dead from the coronavirus strain (2019nCoV) briefly deviated from the numbers they were streaming. Multiple users of the tracker noticed that the numbers jumped ten times higher than what China officials reported.

Facebook user and Taiwanese resident, Hiroki Lo put up screenshots of the increased virus numbers, which quickly became viral. According to Taiwan News, this is not the first time the numbers were off. Moreover, leaked videos and reports from Hubei province of Chinese citizens detailing that the situation is much dire, heightening concerns. Because China regulates the flow of information in-and-out of the country, it is difficult for outsiders to fully investigate claims.

| Read: CDC epidemiologist claimed flu shot caused influenza caused deadly outbreak, goes missing |

The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal on respiratory medicine, published a study that predicted the virus would infect over 75,000 people. Since, the publication pulled the research. Nonetheless, several reports remain. One paper from Talha Khan Burki says that an effective medicine to properly treat the new strain of the coronavirus is not known, but if the death rate is at 3 percent, it is similar to the numbers seen in influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). 

So far, China has quarantined Wuhan, a city in the Hubei province with a population of 11 million. However, that was not before 5 million residents left before the quarantine went into effect. In the conditions of the lock down, residents cannot leave their homes, cannot travel and are forbidden to even open their windows. 

Last week, video footage showed high rise tenants yelling encouraging words to each other, but the government ordered them to stop to decrease the risk of infection. Now, satellite photos shown by Business Insider, display the empty streets of Wuhan.

Veering away from the rumored coronvavirus numbers, news from Nature says that China reports a little over 20,000 infections. But the concern is not in China, it is in the other 17 countries that have reported someone infected by the virus. With more human-to-human contact in areas where infected have been reported outside of China. Added, less rigid quarantine measures as seen in Wuhan, the probability of more people contracting the coronavirus is highly likely.

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