According to health officials, “The death toll in China’s Hubei due to coronavirus outbreak leapt by a record 242 on Thursday to 1,310, with a sharp rise in confirmed cases after the adoption of a new methodology for diagnosis.”
The rise in the toll more than doubled the prior provincial daily record of 103 set on Monday, while the number of new cases soared by 14,840 – also a daily record – to a total of 48,206 cases.
Health officials in the province, the epicentre of the epidemic, said they had started including people diagnosed using the new methods from Thursday. Excluding cases confirmed using the new methods, the number of new cases rose by only 1,508, the official data showed.
The provincial health commission said last week that it would begin recognising computerised tomography (CT) scan results as confirmation of infections, allowing hospitals to isolate patients more quickly.
It also said it had revised its old data and previous assessments of suspected cases.
The sudden jump in new cases raises questions about China’s commitment to transparency, said Victor Shih, a specialist in Chinese politics at the School of Global Policy & Strategy at UC San Diego.
“The adjustment of the data today proved without a doubt that they have had two sets of numbers for confirmed infected all along,” he said. “If that were not the case, the government could not have added so many new cases in one day.”