Senior WHO Official Says China Is ‘Under-Representing’ COVID-19 Deaths

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A senior World Health Organization (WHO) official says the Chinese regime has been under-reporting deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the country.

“We believe that the current numbers being published from China under-represent the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of ICU admissions, particularly in terms of death,” Mike Ryan, WHO emergencies director, told reporters at a Jan. 4 media briefing.

“And we would like to see more data on a more geographic basis across China.”

In late December 2022, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) narrowed its definition for classifying deaths as attributable to COVID-19 by counting only those involving pneumonia or respiratory failure sparked by COVID-19, surprising some world health experts.

The CCP has been reporting daily COVID-19 deaths in single-digit figures.

“We still do not have complete data,” Ryan said.

Ryan said the WHO deems the Chinese regime’s definition of deaths attributable to COVID-19 as “very narrow.” He urged for a broader definition to get a fuller picture of the impact of COVID-19 in China.

The WHO’s guidance (pdf) stipulates that a death should be attributed to COVID-19 if it results from a “clinically compatible illness, in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID disease (e.g. trauma).”

The guidance also states that deaths from COVID-19 “may not be attributed to another disease,” such as cancer, and should be counted as a COVID-19 death, even if there’s a suspicion that a preexisting medical condition may have triggered a severe course of COVID-19.

UK Firm Estimates Death Toll in China Far Higher

In a drastically different picture to that provided by the CCP, UK-based health data firm Airfinity on Dec. 29, 2022, estimated that about 9,000 people died from COVID-19 in China each day in December 2022 and that the deaths may peak at 25,000 a day in January.

By Mimi Nguyen Ly

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