As healthcare officials the world over work toward containing the spread of coronavirus, China has revised its initial death count in the city of Wuhan as of Friday. According to The New York Times, the new tally is roughly 50 percent higher than was officials had previously reported.
The Chinese government now states that Wuhan had 3,869 deaths, which is an increase of 1,290 over its previous figure of 2,579. The number of confirmed cases in the central-China city was also revised though it only increased to 325, bringing the total up to 50,333. Officials are claiming that the revised death toll now includes individuals who died at home early on in the outbreak, as well as those that hadn't been reported properly.
An official from Wuhan's epidemic command center spoke anonymously to the official Xinhua news agency, explaining that these new figures were important for protecting the "credibility of the government" as well as "maintaining respect for each individual life." Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a political science professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and expert on Chinese politics, told the outlet that the statement indicates that China is "on the defensive, clearly." He also stated that it's "an uphill battle now for China to improve its image."
The latter comment specifically refers to criticisms lobbed at the country's handling of the pandemic early on. Though it appears the government has, in more recent weeks, changed course and worked to more swiftly contain the virus. Currently, there are 2,216,228 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins, with 684,920 in the U.S. alone.
Additionally, concerns about coronavirus have resulted in a devastating situation for the economy, with millions of people filing for unemployment while countless businesses remain closed in an effort to help slow the spread. On Thursday, President Donald Trump released a new set of guidelines to begin the slow rollout to normalcy. However, the president stressed that it was up to each state's governor on when to implement its three-phase plan.
"You are going to call your own shots," Trump told the governors on Thursday. "I've gotten to know almost all of you, most of you I've known and some very well. You are all very capable people, I think in all cases, very capable people. And you're going to be calling your shots."
Several state governors had already begun to band together based on their respective regions to formulate their own plans to begin reopening their economy. Most recently, Midwestern governors, both Democrat and Republic, formed the latest coalition to discuss their options on Thursday.