China changes its COVID-19 statistics

China has changed its coronavirus statistics as a result of the COVID-19 diagnostic criteria being refined and clarified. According to a Hong Kong study, which utilized data from the World Health Organization’s trip to Wuhan, there could have been 232,000 confirmed cases in China instead of 55,000 by February 20. A primary reason for this change is that the diagnostic criteria in China at the beginning of the virus’ spread was limited; there were only six steps that had to be met. As COVID-19 continues to spread, Chinese authorities began expanding the definition as new information and lab testing became more available. This led to more cases being accounted for. 

For example, Wuhan added over 1,200 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing their death toll to 3,896, and the number of confirmed cases rose to 50,333, according to NPR article “China Raises Wuhan Death Stats By Half To Account For Reporting Delays And Omissions.” Wuhan officials declare that limited hospital space and a shortage of medical staff contributed to a delay in reporting cases and identifying COVID-19 patients. Their numbers are changing as information about coronavirus is changing. 

Many countries have been scrutinized for how they’ve been counting coronavirus cases and deaths, but China in particular has come under fire. China only began to alter its statistics after the United States and Australia began questioning the origin of COVID-19. There are many theories as to its origin, including one that states a Wuhan lab released the virus as a bio-weapon. However, officials stated that investigations surrounding COVID-19  have proven to show its natural origins. But, as a result of these accusations and theories, tensions have risen between the U.S. and China.