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Reports: Virus Death Toll in Wuhan over 10x China’s Official Number

Multiple reports analyzing the number of urns carrying remains of the dead in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the current coronavirus pandemic originated, distributed this weekend suggests that the Communist Party may be downplaying the true number of dead by at least an order of magnitude.

China had kept most of Wuhan quarantined for months, welding families shut into their homes and apartments to keep them from contaminating more people. While medical experts have traced the first case of Chinese coronavirus back to Wuhan in November 2019, dictator Xi Jinping did not visit the city of 11 million people until the week of March 10, shortly before the Chinese Communist Party began allowing businesses to reopen and claiming that doctors were not diagnosing any more coronavirus cases in the city. With the city recent reopened, the government finally began allowing families to go to funeral homes and pick up the ashes of their relatives who died of coronavirus infection last week.

Citing funeral home directors and eyewitnesses, multiple reports suggest that the number of urns collected was far larger than that possible if Beijing had accurately reported the number of cases.

 The Epoch Times, an anti-communist newspaper that has documented skepticism of official government figures from within Wuhan since the onset of the pandemic, estimated over 32,000 deaths attributable to Chinese coronavirus in Wuhan in a report Sunday. The newspaper noted that the urns collected this weekend had amassed between January 23, when the lockdown began, to March 23, when families were first allowed to begin retrieving them.

Citing sources in various Wuhan funeral homes and reports from other outlets such as the independent Chinese media outlet Caixin, the Epoch Times concluded that Wuhan’s seven funeral homes possessed 40,000 urns, each urn containing the remains of one person, during the lockdown, suggesting that 40,000 people died in the city during that time. Discounting the average number of deaths a day in Wuhan in 2018, the latest year for which public statistics are available, the newspaper concluded that at least 32,140 people have died of Chinese coronavirus in Wuhan.

These numbers echoed the warning of funeral directors speaking to the Epoch Times in February, concerned that they did not have the capacity to handle the sheer number of bodies hospitals were sending them. A report in the publication that month found that each Wuhan crematorium was handling as much as five times the normal intake of bodies per day.

Radio Free Asia (RFA), an American human rights publication, published an even larger number on Thursday:
Some social media posts have estimated that all seven funeral homes in Wuhan are handing out 3,500 urns every day in total.
Funeral homes have informed families that they will try to complete cremations before the traditional grave-tending festival of Qing Ming on April 5, which would indicate a 12-day process beginning on March 23.
Such an estimate would mean that 42,000 urns would be given out during that time.
Another popular estimate is based on the cremation capacity of the funeral homes, which run a total of 84 furnaces with a capacity over 24 hours of 1,560 urns city-wide, assuming that one cremation takes one hour.
This calculation results in an estimated 46,800 deaths.
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