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  • While China’s Coronavirus (CoV) death toll rises to at least 80 from 56.
  • China could be covering up the true picture to avoid a panic.

While China’s Coronavirus (CoV) death toll rises to at least 80 from 56, with 2744 confirmed cases of WuhanCoronavirus, there are some reports that argue that China is suppressing the full extent of nCoV’s lethality, and keeping the mortality rate of the coronavirus artificially low.

It appears that the underlying incentive is to underreport the true extent of the epidemic for as long as possible. Casting minds back to 2003, a Chinese doctor exposed the cover-up of China’s SARS outbreak. Dr. Jiang disclosed in a letter circulated to international news organizations that at least 100 people were being treated in Beijing hospitals for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

At the time, the Chinese medical authorities were asserting that the entire nation had only a handful of cases of the disease. The revelation prompted China’s top leaders to acknowledge that they had provided false information about the epidemic. The health minister and the mayor of Beijing were removed from their posts.

This time around, instead of putting down coronavirus as the cause of death for an unknown number of Wuhan casualties, China’s coroners and hospitals merely ascribe death to “viral pneumonia”, case closed.

A 53-year-old fitness trainer died on Wednesday after checking into a hospital in Wuhan a little more than a week earlier, said his niece. His family had expected the death certificate to reflect the deadly coronavirus, because as his condition deteriorated, his doctors told his family he was suffering from an untreatable virus in his lungs.

Instead, it recorded “severe pneumonia” as the cause of death, she said. The relatives of two other people who died in separate hospitals in Wuhan this week also described similar situations, saying the causes of death had been given as “viral pneumonia,”

– reported in the WSJ, which gives us an insight to how China could be keeping the mortality rate of the coronavirus artificially low to void a panic. 

“There are likely to be many times more cases in Wuhan than officially confirmed,” said Neil Ferguson, a disease modeler at Imperial College London, estimating as many as 4,000 people may have been infected in Wuhan. 

What’s worse is that if there are indeed 4,000 injected already, then the previously discussed catastrophic forecast of 250,000 cases by Feb 4 may be overly optimistic by half.

Market implications

US S&P 500 futures are falling more than 1 pct in Asian trade on worries about CoV and USD/JPY dropped below the 109 handle.