China releases conflicting official Covid-19 death toll on Feb. 14, but 5,090 new infections reported

Conflicting numbers released within hours of each other.

Belmont Lay | February 14, 2020, 12:11 PM

Mainland China has reported 121 new deaths and 5,090 new infections on Feb. 14 due to the novel coronavirus.

However, the country initially stopped short of issuing a total tally of deaths in its daily update of the situation, an omission that has become conspicuous ever since the Covid-19 outbreak began in late December and number of deaths started to rise.

And when China did provide it, the figure did not tally at all as conflicting numbers were being released within hours of each other, drawing attention to their glaring discrepancies.

Conflicting number of deaths and infections

The conflicting figures coming out of the country the past several hours on the morning of Valentine's Day has resulted in difficulty reporting the exact numbers -- an issue that has not crept up the past few weeks.

The daily updated numbers were until now consistently provided for like clockwork by the country’s National Health Commission and reported by state media People's Daily.

If 121 new deaths is the final count for the day before on Feb. 13, the total number of deaths will stand at 1,431 on Friday.

But it was reported by China as 1,380 instead:

The total number of deaths stood at 1,310 on Thursday, a day before.

As evidence of the confusion that is taking place, it was reported earlier by wire agencies that the hardest-hit province of Hubei reported a record 116 new fatalities -- a figure that would render the 1,380 total fatalities wrong.

Of the new 116 deaths, 88 were already reported to have occurred in the provincial capital of Wuhan, widely believed to be the place where the virus originated.

Discrepancies in confirmed figures

Although the accounting of numbers has become more complicated over the past week, it does not explain how figures are surging up for almost no discernible reason.

Currently, it is being reported that there are 51,986 confirmed cases within China itself, which is inclusive of the 15,384 clinical cases that have resulted due to a broadening of the definition for Covid-19 cases.

But the total number of confirmed cases surged to 63,851 an hour later.

Even when figures are taken for Chinese mainland, 53 in Hong Kong, 10 in Macau and 18 in Taiwan, the tally does not account for the explosion of new cases.

Highlighted successes

China also claimed in its morning release of figures that 36,719 are hospitalised, while 6,723 have been discharged, with 1,081 discharged on Feb. 13 alone.

It was also quick to trumpet its apparent successes.

According to a newer People's Daily tweet, the number of confirmed cases outside Hubei Province in the Chinese mainland have dropped for 10 consecutive days, from 890 on Feb. 3 to 267 on Feb. 13, according to the National Health Commission.

What is certain though, is that over four-fifths of the province's new cases were in Wuhan.

Top photo via Xinhua