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Wuhan has more asymptomatic cases, not counted in official figures

According to new Caixin reporting (in Chinese; in English), there are new asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, often numbering “more than a dozen a day,” that are not being reported in official numbers. The widely criticized policy of not including asymptomatic cases in official numbers in China has been in effect since February 7, according to previous Caixin reporting.

This is worrying, because “the number of ‘silent carriers’ — people who are infected by the new coronavirus but show delayed or no symptoms — could be as high as one-third of those who test positive, according to classified Chinese government data” that the South China Morning Post claims to have seen. Earlier World Health Organization estimates, based on Chinese data, had downplayed asymptomatic transmission. For more, see Sixth Tone: Wuhan grapples with ‘silent carriers’ absent from official data.

The SCMP also has a report with more information on one case of asymptomatic COVID-19 in a district in Wuhan:

Qiaokou authorities said a 62-year-old man from the district was tested for the pneumonia-like illness three times — he was negative on Tuesday, positive on Thursday, when he was admitted to hospital, but tested negative again on Friday.

The man did not have symptoms such as a fever or cough so was not counted as a confirmed case, according to a statement.

Nevertheless, Wuhan is loosening its lockdown, allowing some residents to return to work and gradually reopening public transportation, per the Guardian. Shanghai has also lowered its emergency alert level, per Reuters.

More China-related COVID-19 news:

A new domestic transmission was reported in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, after four days with zero local cases officially reported, SCMP says. Forty-five imported COVID-19 cases were also reported.

“Hong Kong will ban all foreign visitors from entry from Wednesday due to a spike in imported coronavirus cases,” the Hong Kong Free Press reports.

“How the virus got out” is the title of a New York Times visualization of telecoms data showing the movement of people from Wuhan to the rest of China and the world starting on January 1, 2020.

—Lucas Niewenhuis

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Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

One Comment

  1. Herwig Egon Casadoro-Kopp Reply

    Thank you for following up on the theme of asymptomatic cases. In Germany at least one prominent virologist (Alexander Kekulé in an interview with ARD) is now suspecting the dark number of infected but not-yet-registered, estimating the ratio of symptomatic / asymptomatic cases with 10fold, also citing Italian sources. In Germany the asymptomatic ones are not a big theme (yet), they are submerged and overwhelmed with the the required (basic) tests of severe cases and not enough capacity as well…

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