Real Clear Investigations:
Unpacking China’s Viral Propaganda War
Wall Street Journal:
China’s Count Excluded Infected People With No Symptoms
China said more than 1,500 people who were infected with the coronavirus but haven’t shown symptoms weren’t included in its tally of confirmed cases.
That Wall Street Journal number of 1,500 is odd since the South China Morning Post is reporting:
Classified government data seen by the Post showed more than 43,000 people in China had tested positive for Covid-19 by the end of February but had no immediate symptoms. They were quarantined but not included in the official tally of confirmed cases.
One wonders why “infected with” and “tested positive” do not equate with “confirmed” in Mandarin. And whether the rest of the world might have been interested in that information a little earlier.
Elsewhere in that SCMP article, Lu Jinxing, party secretary of China’s National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, is quoted:
A top Chinese health official sought to allay growing fears over asymptomatic coronavirus carriers on Monday, saying there was “no evidence” they could spread the illness…
Lu told the state broadcaster: “We have observed a great number of asymptomatic cases and found that people had a relatively long duration of viral shedding,” referring to the rate at which an infected person “sheds” the virus.
“In terms of whether they are infectious, we have not done detailed studies so far,” Lu said.
There is “”no evidence” asymptomatic carriers” with “a relatively long duration of viral shedding” are contagious? Well, yes, you won’t find evidence you haven’t looked for.
Someone should remind Mr. Lu that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Then again, there is evidence:
Public fears were heightened on Sunday after officials disclosed the case of a 59-year-old woman in Henan province who contracted Covid-19 after she had contact with a doctor who was an asymptomatic carrier.
Maybe the WSJ is wrong about the 1,500. Maybe the SCMP is wrong about 43,000. Maybe all but 1,500 of those 43,000 later became symptomatic. Maybe that woman was infected by someone other than the asymptomatic doctor, and the Chinese surveillance system missed the contact. Maybe word of that transmission hadn’t reached the party secretary.
Maybe the party secretary is lying.