The West accuses China of distorting data on the coronavirus. On April 17, Chinese authorities admitted that data on the number of deaths in the city of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 outbreak was first recorded, was incomplete. The number of victims of coronavirus infection was 40 percent higher than previously reported. In addition, there were questions about the origin of the virus. In this regard, the world community has a reasonable question: Can we now believe what Chinese experts said about the coronavirus? What do all these omissions mean and how can they affect the course of the pandemic?
New introductory notes
вЂњLet's not be so naive as to say that they handled it much better. Clearly, things were happening that we don't know anything about,вЂќ said French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking about the Chinese strategy to combat the coronavirus. In France, by April 17, SARS-CoV-2 detected 147 thousand people вЂ” almost twice as many as the Chinese 83 thousand. At the same time, about 18 thousand people died in France: that is, for each of the 4.6 thousand who died in China, there are about four deaths in France.
All this is true, according to official statistics from Beijing. Distrust of her, however, was at least partially justified. On April 17, it turned out that in the city of Wuhan, where the initial outbreak of coronavirus was recorded, one and a half times more infected people died than previously reported: 1,290 dead were unaccounted for. Updated data on the number of infected people, however, their Chinese state considered more carefully, so the statistics escaped only a little more than 300 people.
The error was explained by the fact that in the early stages of the hospital and doctors experienced too much stress
Two days before, another inaccuracy was revealed: it turned out that the number of asymptomatic carriers of the new type of coronavirus was not clarified. Studies conducted in China in recent weeks have shown that most infected people carry the disease without any visible symptoms. Only 19 percent of those infected (1.2 thousand of the more than 6 thousand participants in the study) subsequently showed symptoms, and such patients can transmit the virus to others for up to four weeks.
These data may be confirmation of what was reported back in March and even in February: the number of Chinese who have had coronavirus is greatly underestimated in government statistics.
It is not news to doctors that most infected people may not even feel that they have had COVID-19: Singapore researchers reported 50-70 percent of asymptomatic carriers, while Russian authorities reported 45-50 percent. But the statistical models used by countries around the world to plan their actions to combat the epidemic took into account Chinese data вЂ” and now there is less confidence in them.
вЂњDo you really believe in such figures in a country as big as China, and that they have accurately established both the number of deaths and the number of cases? Does anyone really believe this? вЂњ вЂ” this is how US President Donald Trump spoke about the information from the Chinese. He was referring to the official figures вЂ” 3.3 thousand deaths in the entire PRC. Since his speech, the numbers have increased, but the death rate in China is still 5.25 вЂ” two or more times lower than in Italy, France, the UK, and Spain.
American intelligence, in turn, in early April reported that China underestimates the statistics. At the same time, FOX News channel seriously told about what until recently was just another conspiracy theory: the first person infected with SARS-CoV-2 allegedly worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but something went wrong during scientific experiments, and the pandemic is the result of a certain leak. It was reported that the laboratory was studying bat coronaviruses, and at some point one of the employees became infected, and then infected others. At the same time, pointing to the city market as a hotbed of infection is nothing more than an attempt to hide the truth.
China did not leave such attacks unanswered and rather harshly stated that the claims about the Chinese origin of the virus have no factual basis, and in the situation of a global pandemic, it is important not to use the threat for political purposes but to rally against it. Beijing also pointed out that the country behaves decently and makes its statistics transparent to the rest of the world. However, now the data has had to be revised, and suspicions of an artificial origin of the virus seem more reasonable than before.
Big Brother-big responsibility
Specifically, in the history of the coronavirus, the PRC has already shown itself as a truly authoritarian power. So, the doctor who reported the threat of a new wave of the epidemic was ordered to remain silent, and his colleague disappeared somewhere, revealing data that was inconvenient for the authorities. In addition, three journalists who tried to make independent investigations about what happened in Wuhan have not been contacted for more than two months.
For three weeks in a row, China has reported a sharp decline in both new cases and deaths: on April 7, the country recorded no deaths from COVID-19-related causes for the first time. Other countries вЂ” including Russia-are following the world health organization in taking Chinese data on trust and looking for ways to replicate Beijing's success in fighting the epidemic.
And if the information coming from China is really full of inaccuracies and gaps, Beijing is unlikely to be able to strengthen its position in the world and set an example to the rest of humanity, as predicted before. On the contrary, he will be a pariah and perhaps the cause of many thousands of deaths. And they will not look at how deliberate these inaccuracies were, of course.
Believe the unbelievers
However, not only Chinese data but also statistics from other countries raise questions. And this is not just about Russia, Iran, and North Korea, which American intelligence, along with China, suspects of manipulating statistics. For example, the authorities of Chile in early April unexpectedly reported that from a certain point on, they counted those who died of COVID-19 as cured. They explained this strangeness by the fact that the deceased is no longer infectious.
Sociologist and specialist in mortality statistics from the University of Texas mark Hayward (Mark Hayward) said that the American official data вЂ” just the tip of the iceberg. According to him, with improved testing and data collection, the truth about how many lives the pandemic actually claimed will surely be revealed.
Now, for example, not all regions of the United States take into account patients who were not hospitalized and died at home
While the countries are mutually throwing accusations at each other, Chinese Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui in an interview with TASS called on the world to unite and not fight. According to him, the epidemic is a вЂњwar of viruses against peopleвЂќ, and it can only be won by discarding politics. But even calling for global cooperation, the diplomat did not fail to prick his enemies and colorfully paint all the theories that COVID-19 could appear anywhere in the world, and not in Wuhan itself.
It is worth noting that optimists see in the pandemic the potential for global unification, which is called for by the Chinese Ambassador. However, only one participant in this fragile unity is enough to make a mistake, so that the struggle in the camp of like-minded people is resumed with a new force and with the use of all sorts of tricks. According to the diplomat, over time, science will help make everything secret clear. This is certainly true, but in fact, it means only one thing: the winners will be those who did not hide anything from the beginning.