A Chinese news outlet published, then deleted, reports that estimated 500,000 residents could have already been infected with coronavirus in the virus epicenter Wuhan amid pledges from officials to test the city’s 11 million residents, Taiwan News reported on Tuesday.
Caixin media reportedly published results of a study from April that found 6 percent of 11,000 Wuhan residents had COVID-19 antibodies which means they had been infected and recovered, according to the report.
“If extrapolated to the city’s entire population, this would mean approximately 500,000 of the city’s residents have been infected with the disease,” Taiwan News said.
In a Google cache version of the original news report translated to English, news outlet Sina said with “more than 50,00 people [in Wuhan]” having been diagnosed, “90 percent of the patients have not been found.”
The original report also claimed that “asymptomatic infections in Wuhan may be as high as 90 percent.”
Taiwan News reported that cases across China’s 230 cities actually could exceed 640,000, based on data from the National University of Defense Technology.
The United States has continuously accused China of lying about the extent of the outbreak, based on intelligence reports.
The Associated Press had revealed in April that top Chinese officials waited six days to implement preventative measures after concluding in January that China was likely facing a severe coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
US President Donald Trump has, on many occasions, blamed China for the outbreak which has infected 1,528,661 Americans and killed 91,938 so far. He’s gone to the extent of referring to the novel coronavirus as the “China virus.”
In April, China revised its Wuhan numbers after a “comprehensive review of its epidemic data,” according to Reuters. The country reported a revised death toll of 3,869 on April 17, after adding 1,290 to its previously-announced figure. It also raised the total number of cases in the country to 82,692 from its previously reported 82,367, while claiming Wuhan has 50,333 total cases.