On Friday, authorities in Wuhan revised the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, citing reporting errors during the initial stages of the outbreak, among other factors.
The total number of confirmed cases were revised up by 325 to 50,333, while the number of deaths went up by 1,290 to 3,869, as of Thursday.
In a move to appear transparent, the Wuhan municipal headquarters for the coronavirus prevention and control said the figures were revised in accordance with related laws and regulations in addition to principles for accurately recording history and those who lost their lives, as cited by CGTN.
The four main reasons for the data discrepancies include:
Patients who died at home before receiving treatment in hospitals
Medical staff operating beyond their capacity and misreporting cases
Medical institutions not linked to the epidemic information network
Incomplete information from deceased patients resulting in mistakes in reporting
According to an official from the Wuhan headquarters, a group was established in late March to conduct epidemiological investigations and ensure cases were accurate and figures were objective.
The first 59 cases were reported in Wuhan by the municipal health commission on January 5, referring to the virus as an unknown form of pneumonia. Health officials initially ruled out that the illness was linked to SARS and other coronaviruses. Eight Chinese citizens were arrested by Wuhan police in the first week of January for spreading rumors about the pneumonia being linked to SARS, according to Global Times.
The illness was eventually identified as a coronavirus on January 9.
Chinese health authorities also said that no evidence was found that the illness could be transmitted between humans during a preliminary investigation. On January 20, the national health commission confirmed that evidence of human-to-human transmission was found.
[Cover image: screengrab via Weibo]