TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases ramps up worldwide, a decrease in the number of new confirmed cases has been reported in China, according to an Epoch Times report on Monday (Feb. 24), which says this trend-defying tally could be due to hospitals underreporting cases.
Citing Ms. Jiang, a source said to be familiar with the People's Hospital of Wuhan University, the newspaper claimed that more than 500 medical staff have contracted the virus and these cases were not reported to the authorities. Instead, the infected staff are said to be isolated on the top floors of the hospital's ophthalmology and surgery departments.
Jiang said the reason management did not report these infections was the fear of losing their jobs, according to the report. She added the hospital did not keep records of deaths from the virus for fear of data leaking out.
However, she also told the newspaper she was not allowed to return to Wuhan for the Lunar New Year after the city was placed on lockdown Jan. 23. Even though the newspaper claimed that Jiang, who currently lives outside China, obtained the information from a source inside the hospital, it was unclear from the report how she communicated with the source.
“I've slowly found that more and more people I know have died, and the place is a zombie hospital with infected people everywhere … It feels like the air there is full of the virus,” she was quoted as saying by The Epoch Times. “No measures have been taken, and it was like waiting to see who would be the next one grabbed out of the cage.”
The outside world has long questioned the accuracy of the coronavirus data released by the Chinese government. In a Fox News report on Feb. 3, Gordon Chang, author of the book, "The Coming Collapse of China," claimed that local authorities had "lost the ability to pick up corpses."
"So really what we are having right now is, they are completely overwhelmed," he added. "They are not able to keep accurate statistics. So what we are witnessing is essentially a breakdown in government, and keeping accurate statistics is a very minor part of their priorities right now."
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on the other hand, has often praised China’s handling of the epidemic, congratulating the country for the “extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak despite the severe social and economic impact.” Even so, he is now warning of a “potential pandemic.”
The Epoch Times was founded 20 years ago and is known for its support of Falun Gong and its criticism of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in addition to spreading conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination propaganda.