A study about Corona Virus Antibodies in Wuhan residents conducted in mid-April indicate that the true number of COVID-19 infections may have been ten times higher than the numbers reported by health officials.
Of the 11 million people living in the city, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) It was found that 4.43% had antibodies to the virus. That number reaches nearly 500,000 people who have contracted the new virus, but at the time, the city was reporting about 50,000 infections.
The The CDC study It included a sample of more than 34,000 people in Wuhan and six neighboring provinces. Wuhan is where the virus was first detected nearly a year ago.
Outside of Wuhan, the study found that the prevalence of antibodies was significantly lower, recording 0.44%. The CDC said the low rate indicates that disease control measures in Wuhan “effectively prevented the virus from spreading widely.” According to the South China Morning Post.
Experts told news outlets that the variation in the number of reported coronavirus infections and the potential number of actual illnesses may be due to testing accidents and conflicts early in an outbreak, as well as asymptomatic spread. There were also differences in how cases were counted between health agencies during the peak of the first wave.
“Exactly how much we missed we don’t know exactly, but that gives us an idea that we’ve lost it a little bit,” Ian Mackay, Associate Professor at The University of Queensland in Australia, He told the South China Morning Post.
It was unclear if the health agency planned to publish the data in a journal, or whether it was under consideration for peer review.
On Monday, China sentenced a former lawyer who reported the early stages of the outbreak to four years in prison. According to the Associated Press, Zhang Zhan was accused of spreading false information, giving false interviews to foreign media, disrupting public order and “maliciously” manipulating the outbreak.
The country has faced previous allegations of covering up the true depth of the outbreak in the early stages, and perhaps enabling the virus to spread around the world through delays in sharing information and refusal to allow investigation teams from outside countries.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.