By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 7: The ‘real’ death toll of the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) may be much higher than the official numbers with ten times the figures released by the Chinese government, a scientific journal by University of Hong Kong said last week.
The study estimates the number of cases is much more given the 2.68 spread rate per case, the doubling of total infections every 6.4 days, and known travel patterns in China and worldwide. By that model, the number of cases in Wuhan alone would now be around 300,000.
The estimation of the study is strangely similar to an online toll maintained by the Chinese company Tencent, on its webpage titled “Epidemic Situation Tracker”. It showed confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China as standing at 154,023 – over 10 times the official figure and the number of suspected cases as 79,808, four times the official figure as on February 1.
Tencent later changed the numbers to match the official numbers once netizens noticed what the company later said is “doctored” although many say that coding issues or whistle-blowers within the company is revealing the “internal” data of the epidemic.
The Wall Street Journal said that the official numbers of the epidemic are “fishy”. Caijing, an independent magazine based in Beijing, also said that the Communist Party of China (CCP) is under-reporting the extent of the outbreak. As of Friday, officially, the coronavirus has killed more than 630 people, most of them in China. Globally, it has infected over 31,400 people across 25 countries and territories.