Q&A about confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities in Wuhan
The Wuhan epidemic prevention and control headquarters held a press conference on Friday concerning the revised number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the city.
Officials from the headquarters answered questions raised by reporters.
1. Why revise the number of confirmed cases and death toll?
The COVID-19 pandemic is the most widespread public health emergency with the fastest spread capability since the founding of the People's Republic of China. Wuhan, as the epicenter of the outbreak, has taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough measures to prevent and control the disease under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and State Council, as well as the Hubei provincial authorities.
The pandemic has, by and large, been contained. The city has also lifted outbound travel restrictions. It is now easier to have a sweeping check on the exact number of COVID-19 patients.
Information regarding the number of confirmed cases and death toll should be transparent, realistic and published in a timely manner.
In the early stage, due to limited hospital capacity and the shortage of medical staff, a few medical institutions failed to connect with local disease control and prevention systems in a timely manner, which resulted in delayed reporting of confirmed cases and some failures to count patients accurately.
According to China's Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases Article 38, information concerning infectious disease should be released in a timely and accurate manner.
According to the Regulation on the Urgent Handling of Public Health Emergencies Article 25, the release of information should be timely, accurate and thorough.
According to the Regulation on the Implementation of the Statistics Law Article 19, if the statistical data are incomplete or have obvious errors, they shall be supplemented or corrected by the object of statistical investigation according to law.
According to Regulations on the Registration of Information on People's Death Article 14, health institutions shall establish a data revision system, Article 15, health institutions shall establish a system supporting data comparison, verification and update.
Given this, the number of total confirmed cases, and the death toll of COVID-19 patients in Wuhan should be revised.
2. How was the revision carried out in Wuhan?
Wuhan epidemic prevention and control headquarters attaches great importance to the revision of the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities, based on the principles of being responsible for history, the people and the dead. The city commits to seeking truth and has taken the initiative to make corrections.
Since the second half of March this year, Wuhan has established a big data and epidemiological investigation team for special purposes, and deployed personnel from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, public security, civil affairs, justice, statistics and other departments to form a special working group.
The city has made full use of the epidemic prevention and control big data information system, the funeral information system, the medical administration and management of the COVID-19 information system and COVID-19 nucleic acid detection system to compare, check and complete the confirmed cases and deaths information.
The city also has collected data offline on all epidemic-affected locations based on requirements of full coverage and no omission, including fever clinics, hospitals, temporary hospitals, isolation places, and epidemic-related communities, and special places including prisons and nursing homes managed by public security, justice and civil affairs departments, to collect all personal information of patients.
Data was collected via medical institutions, communities, police stations, patients' companies and their families in an effort to make sure no one was missed and the data was correct.
3. What are the corrections to the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Wuhan?
As of April 8, the originally published number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Wuhan was 50,008. A total of 217 of these cases were redundant because some patients went to more than one hospital. Therefore, these cases should be removed. Moreover, there were another 542 newly-added confirmed cases that were either reported late or were not reported, making the corrected number 50,333.
4. What are the corrections to the number of COVID-19 confirmed deaths in Wuhan?
As of April 16, the originally published number of COVID-19 deaths in Wuhan was 2,579. A total of 164 of these deaths were either redundant or not related to COVID-19 and thus should be removed. Meanwhile, there were 1,454 newly-added deaths. Some of them did not happen in a hospital and thus were not inputted into the disease control and prevention information system. The others were either reported late or not reported by medical institutions. Therefore, the corrected number of COVID-19 confirmed deaths in Wuhan is 3,869.
5. What is the significance of correcting the numbers of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths?
Life security and physical health are part of the fundamental need as well as universal pursuit of our people. All statistics about the COVID-19 pandemic do not just represent people's life security and physical health, but also concern the government departments' public credibility. The faster we can correct the numbers of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths, the better we can safeguard people's interests, make scientific decisions over pandemic control and prevention, respond to social concerns, and pay respect to every life.