Hundreds of Coronavirus Patients in China Wrongly Listed As 'Cured' As New Stats Show Drop in People Who Have Recovered

Over 900 novel coronavirus cases appear to have been wrongly counted as recoveries in Wuhan, the city where the virus was first reported, according to the latest figures from China's National Health Commission.

On Friday, there were around 47,300 people reported to have recovered in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province. But on Monday, the figure had dropped by around 941 to 46,359.

The number of patients who had recovered across the country also fell to 77,084 on Monday, dropping from the 77,944 reported on Friday, according to the latest figures from the health commission.

The updated figures follow a revised death toll in Wuhan reported by the health commission on Friday, which increased the city's official death toll by around 50 percent, with an additional 1,290 fatalities included in the total count.

The new death toll for Wuhan was the result of a "comprehensive review" of the pandemic data, a spokesperson for China's National Health Commission, Mi Feng, said.

The latest review aimed to "ensure that information on the city's COVID-19 epidemic is open, transparent and the data [is] accurate", the health commission confirmed in a statement on Friday.

The latest figure includes new data collected from funeral homes and prisons, among other sources. Those who died outside hospitals, such as those who died at home, had not previously been included in official figures.

The country's health systems were said to have been overwhelmed in the wake of the outbreak, which led to cases being "mistakenly reported," sometimes reported more than once or missed entirely. A lack of testing capacity also left some cases unaccounted for, the statement added.

"Medical workers at some facilities might have been preoccupied with saving lives and there existed delayed reporting, underreporting or misreporting, but there has never been any cover-up and we do not allow cover-ups," said a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry Information Department, Zhao Lijian, at a press briefing in Beijing last week.

Doubts around China's reported data on the outbreak have been swirling for weeks, including among world leaders. President Donald Trump recently claimed China's death count was "far higher" than what the country had admitted.

French President Emmanuel Macron told The Financial Times last week: "There are clearly things that have happened that we don't know about."

U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab also said last week: "We'll have to ask the hard questions about how it [the virus] came about and how it couldn't have been stopped earlier."

Coronavirus, mural, Wuhan, China, April 2020
A man walks in front of a mural on April 11, 2020 at the Leishenshan Hospital, offered beds for COVID-19 virus patients in Wuhan, China. Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises. Getty Images

The latest incident isn't the first time China has misreported some virus figures. Back in February, the country's health commission reportedly removed 108 fatalities from the death toll in Hubei after it emerged that some deaths were counted twice, Agence-France-Presse reports.

In the same month, officials were reported to have added nearly 15,000 cases to the count in mid-February to include those diagnosed through lung imaging. But in late February, officials changed the criteria for counting cases again, no longer including those confirmed through that method.

The COVID-19 virus has spread to more than 2.4 million people across at least 185 countries and regions. More than 166,200 have died, while over 635,400 have reportedly recovered from infection. China has reported more than 83,800 cases, including over 77,000 recoveries, as of Monday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 across the globe.

statista global chart coronavirus
The number of COVID-18 cases across the globe. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

About the writer

Soo Kim is a Newsweek SEO Reporter is based in London, UK. She reports on various trends and lifestyle stories, from health, fitness and travel to psychology, relationships and family issues. She is also a South Korea expert who regularly covers Korean culture/entertainment for Newsweek, including the latest K-dramas, films and K-pop news, and is the author of the book How to Live Korean, which is available in eight languages. Soo also covered the COVID-19 pandemic extensively from 2020 through 2021 after joining the general news desk of Newsweek in 2019 from the Daily Telegraph (a U.K. national newspaper) where she was a travel reporter/editor from 2010. She is a graduate of Binghamton University in New York and the journalism school of City University in London, where she earned a Masters in international journalism. Languages spoken: English and Korean.

Follow her on Twitter at @MissSooKim or Instagram at

You can get in touch with Soo by emailing

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