The People's Republic of China (PRC) raised the death toll for the city of Wuhan on April 17, 2020, adding 1,290 fatalities to the city's total numbers. The announcement brings China's official figures to nearly 4,600 deaths, although the actual number is suspected to be much higher.
The update was announced on state-run media, with a spokesperson stating the previous count was incorrect due to delays or lapses in reporting. He went on to claim that the revised numbers are the result of new data from funeral homes, prisons, and unreported deaths at homes.
The revisions come amid growing outrage from the international community over a lack of transparency from Beijing. In a press conference at the White House on Wednesday, President Donald J. Trump fired a warning shot at the Chinese government, ""Do you really believe those numbers in this vast country called China, and that they have a certain number of cases and a certain number of deaths; does anybody really believe that?" The leaders of the United Kingdom and France also issued statements questioning the PRCs handling of the Virus.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry called accusations of misconduct unfounded, with spokesman Zhao Lijian stating in a press conference Friday morning, "We'll never allow any concealment."
On Thursday, it was revealed that the US Intelligence Community is investigating the possibility COVID-19 accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute for Virology, a lab well known for conducting research on coronaviruses. Although the US has ruled out that the virus was man-made, they have thus far been unable to rule out if an employee of the Institute could have accidentally contracted the virus and left the facility, thus exposing the city to COVID-19. President Trump has repeatedly declined to answer questions regarding the investigation, citing national security concerns.
The government in Beijing quickly released a statement denying the claim, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying the World Health Organization "repeatedly said there's no evidence." He went on to declare there was absolutely no scientific basis for the claim of, "so-called laboratory leaks."
The global death toll stands at 147,000, with nearly 2.2 million confirmed cases of the virus thus far.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.