Secret Chinese Military Data Adds New Terrifying Detail to Coronavirus Reporting

By Isaac Stone Fish and Maria Krol Sinclair. Beijing claims that since the coronavirus pandemic began at the end of last year, there have been only 82,919 confirmed cases and 4,633 deaths in mainland China. Those numbers could be roughly accurate, and in that case a detailed account would be an important tool in judging the spread of the virus. But it’s also possible that the numbers presented to the rest of the world are vastly understated compared to Beijing’s private figures. The opaqueness and mistrust of outsiders in the Chinese Communist Party’s system makes it hard to judge—but learning more about the coronavirus data used directly by Chinese officials is invaluable for governments elsewhere.

A dataset of coronavirus cases and deaths from the military’s National University of Defense Technology, leaked to 100Reporters, offers insight into how Beijing has gathered coronavirus data on its population. The source of the leak, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of sharing Chinese military data, said that the data came from the university. The school publishes a data tracker for the coronavirus: The online version matches with the leaked information, except it is far less detailed—it shows just the map of cases, not the distinct data.

The dataset, though it contains inconsistencies, is the most extensive dataset proved to exist about coronavirus cases in China. More importantly, it can serve as a valuable trove of information for epidemiologists and public health experts around the globe—and has almost certainly not shared with U.S. officials or doctors. (The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

While not fully comprehensive, the data is incredibly rich: There are more than 640,000 updates of information, covering at least 230 cities—in other words, 640,000 rows purporting to show the number of cases in a specific location at the time the data was gathered. Each update includes the latitude, longitude, and “confirmed” number of cases at the location, for dates ranging from early February to late April. (Read more from “Secret Chinese Military Data Adds New Terrifying Detail to Coronavirus Reporting” HERE)

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New York Eases Ban, China Reports No New Cases

By Bloomberg. China reported no new coronavirus cases on May 22 and said there are two suspected cases, one local and one that was imported, according to statement posted on website of National Health Commission.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dropped the state’s ban on gatherings of any size Friday, issuing an executive order saying up to 10 people are now allowed to be together as long as they abide by other social distancing guidelines adopted during the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reported. Hertz Global Holdings Inc. became the latest company to file for bankruptcy amid the pandemic after sweeping travel restrictions destroyed demand for its vehicles.

Singapore’s contact-tracing phone app, “Trace Together,” will remain voluntary for “as long as possible,” Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said in an interview with Sky News Australia. (Read more from “New York Eases Ban, China Reports No New Cases” HERE)

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