China did not count coronavirus positives if patient had no symptoms: report

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China did not include asymptomatic individuals who tested positive for coronavirus in their counts as the number of confirmed cases and deaths from the disease grew worldwide, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

A Chinese public health official told the Journal on Tuesday that the country will start reporting asymptomatic carriers starting Wednesday “in order to respond to society’s concern in a timely manner.” 

Chang Jile said there are 1,541 asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus in China; of that group, 205 people recently returned from overseas.

From now on, all asymptomatic carriers will be forced into a 14-day quarantine, the official added.

China’s reported numbers, which steeply declined from being the epicenter of the pandemic to the fourth-highest in terms of total confirmed cases, have been met with skepticism.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for example, tweeted Friday that cases of COVID-19 in China are “significantly more than [what] they admit to.”

China currently has more than 80,000 confirmed cases of the virus, compared to 164,000 in the U.S., according to a Johns Hopkins University database.

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