No one really knows the true severity of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in China.
In fact, no one even knows exactly when it begin. The secretive Chinese government says the fist case of the virus was officially diagnosed on Dec. 1, 2019. Some experts say it could have been weeks earlier.
And now, even the reported number of deaths from China — especially Wuhan, which was ground zero for the virus — are in question.
China has 81,999 confirmed cases, at least according to John Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Of those cases, there were 3,299 deaths.
In the Hubei province, home to Wuhan, a city of about 8 million, there were reportedly 3,177 deaths. But massive deliveries of cremation urns to Wuhan have raised new questions about the communist country’s reporting.
“One funeral home received two shipments of 5,000 urns over the course of two days, according to the Chinese media outlet Caixin,” Fox News reported.
“The long lines and stacks of ash urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan are spurring questions about the true scale of coronavirus casualties at the epicenter of the outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative,” Bloomberg News reported.
The families of those who succumbed to the virus in the central Chinese city, where the disease first emerged in December, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight local funeral homes starting this week. As they did, photos circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in.
Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500 urns on both Wednesday and Thursday, according to Chinese media outlet Caixin. Another picture published by Caixin showed 3,500 urns stacked on the ground inside. It’s unclear how many of the urns had been filled.
People who answered the phone at six of the eight funeral homes in Wuhan said they either did not have data on how many urns were waiting to be collected, or were not authorized to disclose the numbers. Calls were not answered at the other two.
Some families said they had been forced to wait for several hours to pick up the ashes. The photos circulated as mass deaths from the virus spiked in cities across the west, including Milan, Madrid and New York, where hospitals were erecting tents to handle the overflow as global infections soar past 500,000, with 24,000 dead.
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