A new analysis from Washington Post Beijing bureau chief Anna Fifield suggests that the real number of people who have died from the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, where the virus originated, is more than 16 times higher than the number reported by communist China.
The Washington Post reported:
The coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe officially claimed 2,563 lives in Wuhan, where it began in a market that sold exotic animals for consumption. But evidence emerging from the city as it stirs from its two-month hibernation suggests the real death toll is exponentially higher. …
Using photos posted online, social media sleuths have estimated that Wuhan funeral homes had returned 3,500 urns a day since March 23. That would imply a death toll in Wuhan of about 42,000 — or 16 times the official number. Another widely shared calculation, based on Wuhan’s 84 furnaces running nonstop and each cremation taking an hour, put the death toll at 46,800.
The analysis from The Washington Post comes after Bloomberg News reported this week that U.S. intelligence officials have presented President Donald Trump with a highly classified report that confirmed that China lied about the extent of the outbreak.
“China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete,” Bloomberg News reported, according to three U.S. officials that it spoke to. “Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake.”
Vice President Mike Pence told CNN this week: “The reality is that we could have been better off if China had been more forthcoming. What appears evident now is that long before the world learned in December that China was dealing with this, and maybe as much as a month earlier than that, that the outbreak was real in China.”
White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx also indicated this week that China’s lying about the extent of the outbreak harmed the rest of the world.
“When you talk about could we have known something different, you know, I think all of us, I was overseas when this happened in Africa and I think when you look at the China data originally, and you said, there’s 80 million people, or 20 million people in Wuhan and 80 million people in Hubei, and they come up with the number of 50,000, you start thinking of this more like SARS than you do this kind of global pandemic,” Birx said.
Birx said that when U.S. officials looked at the data from China during the first days of the outbreak that she did not think that it would be a global pandemic based on the data that China provided.
“So, I think the medical community interpreted the Chinese data as this was serious, but smaller than anyone expected because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data” from China, Birx added.
Communist China also has a history of lying about epidemic outbreaks that originate within its borders.
The New York Times reported on the SARS outbreak in April 2003:
In a rare public admission of failure, if not deception, the Chinese government disclosed today that cases of a dangerous new respiratory disease were many times higher than previously reported, and stripped two top officials of their power.
Admitting to the existence of more than 200 previously undisclosed SARS patients in military hospitals, the official, Deputy Health Minister Gao Qiang, said that as of Friday Beijing had 339 confirmed cases of SARS and an additional 402 suspected cases.
Ten days ago, Health Minister Zhang Wenkang said there were only 22 confirmed SARS cases in Beijing. Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization caused a stir here by estimating that there could be as many as 100 to 200 cases.
This report has been updated to include additional information.