- Index from TotalAnalysis highlights China's "data credibility issues"– as the WHO investigation is frustrated by further delays
- Lockdown of 18 million in Hebei province triggers questions over China's real level of infections and fatalities
- China has recorded no Covid deaths since May 2020
LONDON, Jan. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- As the WHO's Investigation into China continues to be hampered by bureaucratic delays, the world's largest country has been ranked a troubling 96th out of 100 nations in the Covid Data Transparency Index (CDTI) published by independent research group TotalAnalysis.
Scoring just 19.5 per cent overall – an effective zero-star rating – China's score raises a host of new questions: why has Hubei province been locked down if infections are running at below 100 per day? How come China has not registered a single Covid death since May 2020 when official figures show that 5,000 – the actual number is probably many times that – have caught the virus since then?
The Index ranks countries on a range of Covid indicators, grouped into four key pillars – data transparency, coverage, usage and management. The research team at London-based TotalAnalysis has been monitoring and extracting official Covid data from over 200 countries and their local regions on a daily basis since the outbreak of the pandemic. Full access to the index is available at https://www.totalanalysis.com/Covid19/TAIndex
Only four countries (Belgium, Norway, USA and Chile) have scored above 70 per cent on TA's data transparency index, while at the other end of the scale sit North Korea and Turkmenistan in joint 99th position (just two spots below China) with a zero score – both countries being in "total Covid-denial" with not a single infection reported.
Mike Laflin, Director of Research at TotalAnalysis, said: "As the second largest country by GDP in the world, China's data management is extraordinarily poor and appears to be deliberately opaque.
"There is no centralised data dashboard and even the most basic figures, such as hospitalisations and testing, are missing – making meaningful data analyses and comparisons almost impossible. Had China had a more transparent and effective monitoring system in place the world would have been given a better warning of the impending global pandemic and could have responded much faster, potentially saving millions of lives and billions of dollars."
With no central data repository and therefore a very limited ability to analyse and compare the numbers, TotalAnalysis scored China 17 per cent for data transparency. Poor transparency was further exacerbated by the constant changing of Covid definitions and the suspension of regional reporting of cases in February 2020 when Central government took control of reporting through a text-based document to announce daily cases and deaths. Since then, a number of corrections have been made to vastly underreported numbers with 1,290 'missed' deaths added in April resulting in a sudden 50 per cent increase.
One of the key shortfalls in Chinese data is the lack of testing information, which is vital to understanding the credibility of the number of Covid cases. This, and the lack of hospitalisations data, has resulted in China only scoring 26 per cent for data coverage. Moreover, China's National Health Commission has one of the worst websites in the world for presentation of data (TotalAnalysis reviews in excess of 200 national websites every day) resulting in China scoring a mere 6 per cent in terms of data usability. With no data visualisations, no data analyses and no data feeds, it is almost impossible to understand the true spread of Covid in China.
Richard Londesborough, Co-Founder of TotalAnalysis, said: "Given the origins of the pandemic, China's lack of data credibility is a global, not national, issue. One whole year has passed since the outbreak and we're still waiting for the WHO to investigate the pandemic's origins in China, including a full interrogation of data that currently looks highly suspicious."
Given the fragmented and confusing release of efficacy data for the Sinovac vaccine, as several countries prepare for mass inoculations, China will remain under pressure to radically improve its data management and transparency.
Notes to Editor:
The full report on China and breakdown of Index scores for 100 countries is available at https://totalanalysis.com along with a global report on the Index's findings.
About Total Analysis
Based in London, TotalAnalysis is an independent information resource for data on the Coronavirus pandemic. With over 400,000 data points researched from more than 350 public sources, TotalAnalysis systematically updates and analyses Covid-19 data every day on over 200 nations and 2,200 local regions throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. TotalAnalysis was launched in April 2020 and is entirely independent of any government, institution or pressure group.