Chinese cities reveal cases of Covid that surpass the national tally

(Bloomberg) — Two Chinese cities have reported daily cases of Covid that far exceeded the official national tally, in another demonstration of the unreliability of the data in a country grappling with infections after the abrupt end of the Covid Zero .

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The city of Dongguan in the southern province of Guangdong has between 250,000 and 300,000 people infected on a daily basis, the city’s health commission said on its WeChat account on Friday, citing model-based estimates and expert assessments. The manufacturing hub had a population of approximately 10.5 million in 2021.

The city of Qingdao in the eastern province of Shandong is recording 490,000 to 530,000 daily cases based on data projections, according to a local newspaper article on Friday, citing the head of the city’s health commission. Covid cases have yet to peak in the city of about 10.3 million residents, the official said.

These local estimates show a huge discrepancy with the official tally of just 4,103 cases reported for China for December 23. It also points to the inaccuracy of government data and points to the huge challenge the country faces after its rapid relaxation of Covid rules.

Chinese provinces warn of blood shortages as Covid infections rise

In a further sign of the scale of the outbreak, minutes from an internal meeting of the top health authority on Wednesday showed nearly 37 million people in the nation may have been infected with Covid in a single day. Health officials in the island province of Hainan said on Friday that infections were “rising exponentially” and that a further surge of cases is expected on New Year’s Day and the Lunar New Year holiday in January. They didn’t give specific numbers.

Hospitals in major cities including Beijing and Shanghai have been overwhelmed, while crematoria are struggling to cope. In Dongguan, the health commission said, as of December 22, there were 2,528 health workers still at work despite having a fever or testing positive for Covid.

While Qingdao’s estimate is not an accurate count and possibly out of the tens of thousands, such a practice of “seeking truth from facts should be applauded,” setting an example for other cities, according to the former editor of the nationalist newspaper Global Times Hu Xijin .

Some local governments are still using the old calculation methods, “which do not reflect reality and seriously deviate from people’s observations, leading to an erosion of trust in official releases and damaging the government’s credibility,” he wrote on Saturday. on his official WeChat account.

–With assistance from April Ma.

(Updates with Hu Xijin’s commentary in last two paragraphs)

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