Conflicting information is coming in as to the number of people infected with Coronavirus in China. More than 50 million remain on lockdown in seventeen cities throughout the nation. Panic has swept across the region as border closures appear to be the overarching theme. The death rate is being quoted anywhere from 2% to 18%.
The communist Chinese government may be obscuring the official number of “infected” Coronavirus patients by limiting access to diagnostic testing kits, according to an independent journalist in China, who leaked the information to The Epoch Times.
“The outbreak of Wuhan Coronavirus is far bigger than the official figures released by Chinese public health authorities who cover up the severity by limiting the number of diagnosis kits to Wuhan hospitals.”
One method by which China’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) can influence the number of cases is by regulating the number of diagnostic kits available. In Wuhan, the number of diagnostic kits seem to be 10% of what they need to test patients. This appears to be what is happening, according to the Chinese language Epoch Times.
“Initially, there were several days in a row when there was not a single confirmed patient with Wuhan pneumonia. But when other countries identified patients among people [traveling] from China, the CDC was forced to increase its reported cases. That explains why all of a sudden China, reported more than one hundred newly confirmed cases in a couple days. They are manipulating the tally. The real number of patients is far greater.”
According to the insider, some hospitals are not well-equipped to protect their medical personnel from contagious diseases, and many medical staff are being infected.
“Even these medical personnel seeking treatment are rejected by qualifying hospitals. Some are currently receiving treatment at relatively low grade hospitals,” he said.
“Patients exhibiting mild symptoms have a much higher chance to be cured,” he explained. “By selecting this type of patient for diagnosis, the fatality rate appears much lower than what it is in reality.”
This suggests the official numbers from the Chinese government are likely just one-tenth the actual cases. The current government figures claim 7,783 infected patients in mainland China, but if diagnostic testing kits are limited to just ten% of the demand, the real number of infected patients may be something closer to 77,830.
Interestingly, a team at Hong Kong University recently announced that, according to their research, at least 44,000 infected patients already exist in China. They estimate the number of cases is doubling roughly every seven days.
Gabriel Leung, the head researcher and dean of HKU’s faculty of medicine, said his team estimated there were 25,630 patients showing symptoms in Wuhan and that the number would double in 6.2 days – a figure he came to using mathematical modelling based on infection figures worldwide as of Saturday.
China’s National Health Commissioner Minister Ma Xiaowei announced during a press conference Sunday the virus is infectious during its incubation period of one to 14 days, and its ability to spread is increasing.
By early May, Chinese officials expect over 150,000 new cases each day. China’s infrastructure, in terms of laboratory, hospital, and clinic facilities, would be overwhelmed. A catastrophe by any measure.
Underscoring the urgency of the efforts to bring this outbreak under control, China has closed schools until March. This crisis happened during Chinese New Year, dealing a hard blow to the economy. China has just ordered the Stock Market closed through February 3.
According to the government, Coronavirus infections exploded nearly 50% in one day. Some projections suggest an estimated 300,000 cases in China. Dozens have likely died of pneumonia who were not recorded accurately as Coronavirus. In Wuhan, more than 10,000 hospital beds have been made available for patients, he said, while they’re preparing 100,000 more.
The Chinese government’s official numbers are suspect. The regional health care infrastructure is being upgraded with an additional 100,000 hospital beds at 112 institutions. The lockdown of 17 cities underscores the seriousness.
“Another 24 medical centers will be mobilized to assist with patients who exhibit symptoms and are suspected to have the virus,” reports The Epoch Times, which also mentions that infections have now been reported in every Chinese province except Tibet.
Also mentioned in the article is the fact that hospitals in Hubei Province are currently consuming 100,000 protective suits each day, which means at least 100,000 health care workers are active on the scene.
According to a study coming out of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Asians overexpress a certain receptor that the Coronavirus uses to infect cells. The affinity to this receptor will probably increase Asian mortality rates. Additionally, the high level of pollution in Wuhan means many suffer airway and lung inflammation. Wuhan is the perfect crucible for this virus.
Now, these hospitals claim that their responsibility at present is to provide treatment only, and they will not perform any diagnoses. Patients who are seeking a diagnosis are unable to get one and find themselves in a desperate situation.
As Beijing tries to telegraph to the world that it has the situation under control, health experts have raised new questions about the government’s response. One infectious disease specialist told The NYT that they were skeptical about the Wuhan quarantine’s ability to contain the virus (unsurprising considering that five million left the city before the lockdown began).
Significant People, an independent WeChat publication, pointing out in a recent article that Wuhan is facing four major problems: a limited number of diagnostic kits, difficulty in getting diagnosed, severe shortage of hospital beds, and undiagnosed virus carriers traveling. Moreover, the hospitals qualified to perform diagnosis are now sending away people who ask for a diagnostic test.
The Chinese-language Epoch Times called Jinyintan Hospital to inquire about the hospital’s current guidelines for accepting patients. A hospital staff stated that the hospital now only accepts patients who were selected and approved by the Wuhan Health Commission.
“Any patients who want to seek treatment in our hospital will have to communicate with Wuhan Health Commission,” he said.
Chinese state media have previously reported that by January 16, Pfizer had supplied 50,000 to 60,000 diagnosis kits to different cities, and Shanghai-based Geneodx produced 75,000 additional kits. Altogether, there should be more than 100,000 kits available. With over 100,000 kits available why is testing not routine?
Read more from Lorraine Silvetz.