CHINA suffered 640,000 coronavirus infections – eight times higher than official stats – leaked data reveals.
The information shows the bug struck in apartment compounds, hotels, supermarkets, railway stations, restaurants, schools, and even a KFC.
The dataset of coronavirus cases and deaths from the military’s National University of Defence Technology was leaked to 100Reporters.
The news organisation co-published the shocking stats in a joint report with Foreign Policy, explaining a detailed account of the pandemic in China would be an “important tool in judging the spread of the virus”.
Official, confirmed coronavirus cases in mainland China stand at just 82,933 and the death toll at 4,633.
Yet the joint report on the data says the military’s secret virus tracker has more than 640,000 rows of cases in 230 cities, ranging from early February to late April.
It confirms the location of each infection, including the latitude and longitude.
100Reporters adds: “Patterns in the data could add to what is known about the disease, and the ways Beijing manipulates its numbers.
“Medical researchers expressed scepticism in mid-April, after Wuhan revised the number of coronavirus deaths from 2,579 to 3,869 – an increase of exactly 50 per cent.”
Their report says:
- The figures were based on Chinese military data
- It’s not been seen by US officials or doctors
- The 640,000 cases were gleaned from 230 cities
To access the military university’s website hosting the map for the first time, one of the report’s authors had to use a virtual private network to pretend he was browsing in Uruguay.
They are not making the database publicly available for “reasons of security, but are exploring ways to make the data available for researchers studying the spread of the coronavirus”.
Beijing might be restricting access to its coronavirus data “because of malice or mistrust toward the United States, at a time when tensions are running high,” the authors say.
But 100Reporters says it’s likely that “Beijing fears that outside researchers will learn of its extensive cover-up, destroying the narrative that an authoritarian nation like China is better equipped to protect its people against a pandemic.”
The original dataset that was leaked to the organisation appears to have been overseen by Zhang Haisu, a director at the university’s Information and Communication Department.
In a May press release, the institution credits Zhang for building the “Fight the Virus to Return to Work Database” and praises his dedication.
But, it’s unclear as yet how the university gathered the data from “hotels, supermarkets, railway stations, restaurants, and schools across the country”, plus a KFC and a church.
However, according to the university’s online information, cases were aggregated from China’s health ministry, the National Health Commission, media reports, and other public sources.
The university, based in the central Chinese city of Changsha, is “under the direct leadership of the Central Military Commission,” the body that oversees China’s military.
The Chinese Army has played a large role in mobilising against the virus, by enforcing quarantines, transporting supplies, and treating patients, says 100Reporters.
A propaganda message on a prominent military website in China reads, “in the fight against the epidemic, the people’s army is on the move!”
The leaked data “could not be independently verified”.
The stats coincide with a huge task underway in Wuhan, where there are fears the city at the epicentre of the original outbreak faces a threatened second wave of infections.
Following a cluster of cases last weekend – the first since a lockdown was lifted on April 8 – the city is busy conducting a mammoth 11 million tests on citizens.