Doubts about China's official figures
The data of the Asian giant encourages the suspicion that data is hidden and that the accounting that is carried out leaves cases out
China announced this Saturday, for the third consecutive day, that the day before it had not registered any local contagion by coronavirus in its territory. Not even in Wuhan City, where the first infection occurred. Thus, little by little, the country is recovering normality and fewer and fewer companies and businesses remain with the blind down. Even in the Hubei province, the epicenter of the pandemic, the drastic measures taken to combat SARS-CoV-2 are relaxing and the streets are once again filled with life.
However, cases from abroad continue to increase: this Saturday there were 41, bringing the total to 269. Fortunately, none have died and most have mild symptoms. Among the good news are also the medical discharge that 590 people have received in 24 hours and the drastic reduction of those who suffer severe symptoms, which have gone from 1,963 to just 173. According to the National Health Commission, 103 people are being treated as cases. suspects.
But this optimism and impressive official statistics, according to which 3,255 people have died in China due to Covid-19, contrast with suspicions spread by the medical community. "There are several things that don't agree," says a Shanghai-based European epidemiologist who prefers not to give his name. “First, there is the fact that the cases initially responded to an arithmetic formula that is not true in any other country. Second, there are the criteria changes and the opacity. Honestly, it is hard to believe that in Italy, with a population similar to that of Hubei and a much better prepared health system, many more deaths have been registered. Even taking into account that it is an older population, "he adds.
The specialist points to the rules established for accounting for infections. China determines that a case is suspected of being infected if it meets two of three criteria: suffering from fever or respiratory complications, having lung damage visible on an X-ray plate, and registering below-normal lymphocytes or white blood cells. However, it may be the case that an asymptomatic person tests positive for the coronavirus and yet is not counted. This was stated on February 14 by the Chinese National Health Commission at a press conference. "Only if they develop symptoms during quarantine will confirmed cases be considered," said a Commission spokesman.
Perhaps this criterion has facilitated the occurrence of cases such as that of a 62-year-old man named Zhang, a resident of Wuhan. On the 17th, he went to the hospital with a problem not related to Covid-19, and even so, he underwent the coronavirus test and tested negative. Last Thursday, the first day in which China claimed not to have registered any local cases, it was subjected to the same test again and it was positive. For this reason, the building in which he resides notified the neighbors of the existence of a case so that those who had been in contact with him were placed in quarantine. The photograph of that note, dated Friday, has circulated through the networks like wildfire and many consider it to be solid proof that Beijing is lying. Zhang was apparently identified as negative because he had no symptoms.
Regardless of these criteria, China is also receiving harsh criticism for the mandatory requirement that citizens take to the streets wearing a mask. "At first, the Chinese bought all there was in the world and now there are not enough for our own health personnel, who are the ones who need it the most," says the head of a pharmacy in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Chinese tourists came here looking for masks and disinfectant gel. "We shouldn't have sold it to her," laments the pharmacist. The World Health Organization (WHO) only recommends the use of masks in healthcare personnel and in patients with symptoms. For the rest, they ensure that social distance and confinement are sufficient.
Citizens try to send masks that they accumulated in the first phase of panic to countries like Spain
Several groups of Chinese and Spaniards are now trying to send this sanitary material to Spain and they are faced with a multitude of barriers: from those imposed by Spanish customs on material shipments, to the homologation of products to European standards. "The authorities should do something as soon as possible, there is no time to lose," denounces Roberto Batres, an Extremaduran businessman who is trying to import these items from Shanghai. Other groups of Chinese and Spanish have organized in WeChat -the Chinese WhatsApp- to make donations and collective purchases and then the consulates of Spain send the material by diplomatic bag or other channels.