Mainland China reported more than 55,000 cases as of 20 February but, according to research by academics at Hong Kong University’s school of public health published in the Lancet, the true number would have been far greater if the definition of a Covid-19 case that was later used had been applied from the outset. China has now reported more than 83,000 cases. Globally, the death toll from the coronavirus has exceeded 183,000, with the number of cases worldwide standing at more than 2.6 million.
The Hong Kong study analysed data up to 20 February culled from the World Health Organization’s mission to Wuhan. It estimated that each of the first four changes increased the proportion of cases detected and counted, by between 2.8 and 7.1 times.
If the fifth version of the case definition had been applied throughout the outbreak with sufficient testing capacity, we estimated that by 20 February 2020, there would have been 232,000 … confirmed cases in China as opposed to the 55,508 confirmed cases reported,The Guardian
China has faced continual scepticism over its reporting of cases. Last week it revealed the death toll in Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated, was in fact 50% higher than first reported.On Wednesday the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the US believed that China’s ruling Communist party failed to report the outbreak of the new coronavirus in a timely manner. The US and Australia have called for an international investigation into the handling of the outbreak.