230 cities, 640,000 updates: the coronavirus spread database in China has leaked

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Foreign Policy Magazine has access to a coronavirus distribution database in China, in which information on 230 cities has been updated 640,000 times. The publication admits that this is not exhaustive evidence of understatement of statistics by Beijing, but can serve as a valuable source of information for epidemiologists around the world.

The American publication Foreign Policy has at its disposal a database of cases of coronavirus infection and deaths in China. The base was compiled by the Defense Science and Technology University of the People’s Liberation Forces of China. It reflects more than 640,000 cases of updating information on the incidence of COVID-19 in 230 cities in China.

Each update contains information on the extent, duration and number of confirmed cases of infection in a city from the beginning of February to the end of April 2020.

The database was handed over to reporters by a source who asked to remain anonymous. The publication decided so far “for security reasons” not to make this database publicly available. But it recognizes that, in general, the data in it are consistent with information on the distribution of coronavirus, which is updated on a special university website, but contains more details.

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It contains information about the location of hospitals, called the number of convalescent and deceased, called the place where the infection occurred. On March 14, for example, one case was recorded in a KFC restaurant in Zhenjiang; on March 17, two cases were recorded in a church in Harbin. The names of the sick and deceased are not given in the database, so they cannot be verified, the publication notes.

Foreign Policy emphasizes that the database is not “so comprehensive as to refute official figures published by Beijing.” Nevertheless, it sheds light on how Beijing has collected data on the prevalence of coronavirus infection in the country and can serve as a valuable source of information for epidemiologists and health experts around the world. “Almost certainly, Beijing did not share this data with US officials and doctors,” notes Foreign Policy.

According to the publication, the trends reflected in these data could supplement not only the knowledge about COVID-19, but also about how Beijing manipulates numbers. Foreign Policy recalls the skepticism of experts regarding Chinese statistics, especially after in mid-April the Wuhan authorities adjusted the data on the number of deaths, increasing it from 2579 to 3869, i.e. by almost 50%.

As of May 14, 82,929 cases of coronavirus infection were recorded in China (three new infected and 12 asymptomatic carriers were detected over the last 24 hours), 4,633 died.

“Perhaps Beijing is afraid that experts from other countries will learn about its large-scale attempts to hide the truth, as this will refute the idea that authoritarian regimes such as China are better equipped to protect their peoples from a pandemic,” notes edition. Even the public version of the database occasionally blocks access from US IP addresses, according to Foreign Policy. To study them, one of the journalists had to pretend that he was in Uruguay.

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