Patient in a hospital in China
Photo: Noel Celis/AFP
China is currently experiencing a harsh Covid winter with full hospitals and sold out medicines.
The government has moved away from the zero Covid policy, there is less testing.
A huge corona wave is now sweeping through the country.
According to estimates, hundreds of thousands of dead must be expected, and in Beijing the crematoria can no longer keep up with the cremation of the dead.
The statistics on corona deaths in the country are all the more surprising: China reported more than 3,000 new cases on Wednesday, but for the second day in a row no one had fallen victim to the virus.
How can that be?
International health experts viewed the official information on the pandemic critically from the start.
The number of deaths since the pandemic began three years ago is 5,241 - a fraction of most other countries.
Shortly after the outbreak of the corona virus in the metropolis of Wuhan, there were doubts about China's statistics on the spread of the pathogen.
First of all, not all people who tested positive counted as a case - only those who showed symptoms.
The number of deaths also raised doubts.
pneumonia or respiratory failure
A Chinese health official has now said the country only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure in the official Covid-19 death rate.
Deaths with pre-existing conditions are not included in official statistics, said Wang Guiqiang, head of the infectious diseases department at Beijing University No. 1 Hospital.
The country's health authorities have always been conservative when it comes to illnesses, including influenza infections.
In most countries, including Germany, the guidelines stipulate that every death in which Covid 19 is a factor is also included in the statistics.
This also includes patients with previous illnesses.
criticism of the World Health Organization
Both people who died directly from the disease ("died from"), as well as people with previous illnesses who were infected with Sars-CoV-2 and for whom it cannot be conclusively proven what the cause of death was ("died with" ), are currently being recorded according to the Robert Koch Institute.
The WHO has criticized the Chinese way of counting.
The definition of Covid-19 deaths is too narrow, according to the head of the WHO emergency department.
"People who die from Covid die from failure of many different organ systems given the severity of the infection," Ryan said at a news conference on Wednesday.
"So if you limit the diagnosis of death to people with a positive corona test and respiratory failure, you grossly underestimate the actual number of deaths," said Michael Ryan.
The Associated Press (AP) news agency reports on people from China whose deceased relatives were not included in the official death statistics.
If the patients had underlying diseases, their deaths were attributed to them and not to their corona disease.
According to estimates by the British health data company Airfinity, more than 5,000 people die every day from Corona in China - a stark contrast to the official figures.
The data specialists come to this conclusion on the basis of model calculations and evaluations from China.