KEY POINTS

  • One source said Wuhan had either disposed of or cremated 42,000 persons that died from COVID-19
  • China's "official" figure for total deaths resulting from the disease is only 3,305
  • British sources insist China reduced its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases "by a factor of 15 to 40 times"

Evidence continues to mount the true death toll from COVID-19 in China's Hubei province (the pandemic's original epicenter starting December 2019) might be an astronomical 40 times higher than the "official" count being released to the world. This also means the total deaths from the disease in China are also far higher than the official tally.

Data from China's National Health Commission shows 2,535 out of China's total COVID-19 deaths of 3,305 until 1:29 p.m., Monday were accounted for by Hubei province. Hubei accounted for more than 67,000 of China's total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Wuhan has a population of 11 million people.

China reported 81,518 total confirmed COVID-19 cases as of this time, the fourth highest in the world after the United States (164,274 cases, 3,040 deaths), Italy (101,739 cases, 11,591 deaths) and Spain (85,195 cases, 7,340 deaths).

A number of Chinese media organizations are reporting Wuhan has seen a recent increase in urn shipments to eight funeral homes in the city. This huge and continuing shipment of urns (where the ashes of the deceased are stored) might be evidence there are far more deaths from COVID-19 than the city's official death toll.

The South China Morning Post wrote about a truck driver in Wuhan delivering 5,000 urns to a single funeral home for two days last week. Caixin magazine published a photo showing "3,500 urns stacked on the floor of the funeral home."

The official death toll in Wuhan "can't be right ... because the incinerators have been working round-the-clock," said one resident, who identified himself as Zhang. "So how can so few people have died?" he said to Radio Free Asia (RFA).

RFA reported that funeral homes in Wuhan have disposed of at least 42,000 corpses. It also cited social media posts by some city residents all saying Wuhan funeral homes are "handing out 3,500 urns every day." At this rate, "42,000 urns would be given out" between March 23 and April 5 when a traditional grave-tending festival begins.

China's lies about the true toll inflicted by COVID-19 has reportedly angered British prime minister Boris Johnson, who was confirmed positive for the disease on March 27.

Johnson is said to be furious at China after British scientists told him China could have downplayed its number of confirmed COVID-19 cases "by a factor of 15 to 40 times," Daily Mail reported.

Johnson's government is also accusing China of spreading disinformation about the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak within its borders. On Sunday, minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove told the BBC he was skeptical of China's official data.

"It was the case … (that) the first case of coronavirus in China was established in December of last year, but it was also the case that some of the reporting from China was not clear about the scale, the nature, the infectiousness of this," he said.

The market in Wuhan, China, where the new coronavirus was first detected has been sealed behind a tidy partition The market in Wuhan, China, where the new coronavirus was first detected has been sealed behind a tidy partition Photo: AFP / Hector RETAMAL