he number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases in China took a steep and mysterious drop on Thursday that has some raising yet more questions over official government data on the outbreak.
Over the past 24 hours, only 398 new confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported in China.
That’s the lowest level in nearly a month, since the very beginning of the outbreak. For weeks, the number of new infections has been in the thousands each day.
While that number has been gradually declining recently, the day before it was still at 1,759 new confirmed cases.
Chinese officials have yet to explain this staggering drop in new cases, however, a Bloomberg report speculates that it may have to do with another change in the way that cases are classified.
On Thursday last week, the province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, starting counting those “clinically diagnosed” with the coronavirus as part of its confirmed total.
Previously, only those diagnosed through nucleic acid tests had been counted as confirmed, a practice some experts found problematic because of the shortage of testing kits and questions regarding their accuracy.
Now, it seems that Hubei province may have returned back to the old way of classification.
On Wednesday, new national guidelines advised that the province report only confirmed and suspected cases, like the way it’s done in the rest of China, rather than separately report the number of infections that were confirmed via nucleic acid tests or via CT scans (clinical diagnosis).
Meanwhile, the number of new deaths each day still remains high with 115 reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the coronavirus’ death toll up to 2,122 in China.