Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged late last year, has revised sharply upwards its death toll from the disease, admitting people died at home and cases were missed as hospitals struggled to cope in the early days of the outbreak.
The adjustment, detailed in a social media posting by the city government on Friday, increased the death toll by 1,290 – about 50 percent – bringing the total to 3,869. The revision brought the number of dead across China to 4,632.
The authorities said there had been late reports from medical institutions, while some patients had died at home as hospitals struggled to cope in the early stages of the outbreak.
“A surging number of patients at the early stage of the pandemic overwhelmed medical resources and the admission capacity of medical institutions,” the Wuhan Municipal Headquarters for COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention and Control, said in a statement posted to state news agency Xinhua.
“Some patients died at home without having been treated in hospitals. During the height of their treating efforts, hospitals were operating beyond their capacities, and medical staff were preoccupied with saving and treating patients, resulting in belated, missed and mistaken reporting.”
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Wuhan was also revised upwards – by 325 to 50,333, the government said.
The revisions came as a number of world leaders suggested China had not been entirely open about the full domestic impact of a virus that has now killed more than 140,000 people around the world, and confined half of humanity to their homes.