Chinese doctors asked to avoid listing COVID-19 as cause of death, says report
Beijing: China has kept its COVID-19 death toll at a little over 5000, despite funeral homes across the country reportedly overflowing amid an increase in virus cases. Chinese doctors have been asked to avoid listing COVID-19 as a cause of death, NTD reported.
A doctor at a hospital in Beijing was asked to not report COVID-19 as the primary cause of death, NTD reported citing The New York Times. Similar warnings have been circulated on Chinese social media. A group chat conversation has asked doctors to not list the COVID-19 virus as the cause of death, as per the NTD report.
In China, only those who die after respiratory failure caused by COVID-19 count as COVID-19 death. COVID-19 patients who die with pre-medical conditions do not count as COVID-19 death even if the virus worsened their health condition, as per the news report.
One doctor at a private hospital in Beijing said that he and his colleagues found a typed note on a hospital desk in recent days. The note urged the doctors to “try not to write respiratory failure caused by COVID” as the primary cause of death, according to The New York Times.
As per the news report, the doctors said that it was not clear if the message was shared internally or if they had received it from government officials. Similar warnings have been circulated on Chinese social media, urging doctors not to “carelessly write COVID” on the death certificates, according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has accused China of “under-representing” the severity of its COVID-19 outbreak with regards to hospital admissions, deaths, and intensive care unit admissions, according to a statement released by United Nations. Speaking at a press briefing on January 4, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that they are concerned about the surge in COVID-19 cases in China.
“WHO is concerned about the risk to life in China and has reiterated the importance of vaccination, including booster doses, to protect against hospitalization, severe disease, and death,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the press briefing.
“With circulation in China so high and comprehensive data not forthcoming – as I said last week it is understandable that some countries are taking steps they believe will protect their own citizens. This data is useful to WHO and the world and we encourage all countries to share it,” he added.
Speaking later in the briefing, WHO’s Emergencies Director Mike Ryan called on Chinese authorities to share more information, according to the statement released by the United Nations. Ryan said that the current numbers being published from China “underrepresented” the true effect of COVID-19.
“We believe that the current numbers being published from China underrepresents the true impact of the disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of ICU admissions, and particularly in terms of deaths,” Mike Ryan said in the press briefing.