Wuhan’s Mass Virus Testing Results Called Into Question as Another Doctor Dies

By Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao
Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.
June 2, 2020Updated: June 2, 2020

The central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the CCP virus first emerged, announced the results of its mass diagnostic testing for all 9.8 million residents on June 2. Authorities claimed that only 300 asymptomatic carriers have tested positive in the city.

It added that there were no confirmed diagnoses. In China, asymptomatic cases are tallied separately from those who test positive and show symptoms.

However, Chinese citizens questioned the authorities’ figures.

Meanwhile, another Wuhan doctor who was infected with the virus after treating patients has passed away from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, first broke out in Wuhan in late 2019, and quickly spread all across the country.

In early April, after a brief period in which most regions of China reported little to no new infections, second wave outbreaks occurred in several locales, including Wuhan.

After a local outbreak, on May 12, Wuhan authorities ordered that all residents take a nucleic acid test.

Some health officials have also expressed concerns that another outbreak can occur later in the year. On May 31, head of Shanghai’s COVID-19 clinical expert team Zhang Wenhong told state broadcaster CCTV in an interview: “A virus outbreak in the coming autumn and winter cannot be avoided.”

General Testing

Lu Zuxun, director of the Chinese Society of Preventive Medicine, announced the testing results at a press conference on June 2 in Wuhan. Testing was arranged by Wuhan health authorities and performed by third-party testing companies.

9,899,828 people were tested, with no one diagnosed as a patient.

Wuhan deputy mayor Hu Yabo said that authorities spent about 900 million yuan ($127 million) for the testing.

However, the results were broadly questioned.

Beijing-based news magazine Caijing, citing interviews from Beijing and Wuhan officials, reported on May 19 that the companies tested the samples by mixing five to ten individuals’ samples together, in order to speed up the process.

It takes the testing equipment roughly four hours to perform one test, according to the report.

Epoch Times Photo
Medical staff treat CCP virus patients at a hospital in Wuhan, China on March 19, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Caijing confirmed with directors of two testing companies, doctors at Wuhan hospitals, as well as Li Jinming, deputy director of the National Center for Clinical Laboratories at China’s National Health Commission, that this was taking place.

A researcher working at a government agency told Caijing that mixing ten samples together can save 70 percent on costs, but the results would not be accurate.

If a particular sample contains the virus, mixing them together would dilute the virus concentration.

“As I know, hospitals still test the samples one by one,” the head of one of Wuhan’s top hospitals told Caijing.

Epoch Times Photo
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a man to test for COVID-19 in Wuhan, China on May 19, 2020. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

A Chinese netizen named Xue Cha also posted on Weibo about his aunt’s experience at a Wuhan hospital, where she had to take a nucleic acid test before going into surgery for cerebral hemorrhage. “The hospital doesn’t recognize the nucleic acid test results performed by other parties. All patients must be tested by the hospital before they receive any treatment,” he wrote.

Caixin, another Beijing-based Chinese magazine, reported on May 12 that Wuhan performed blood antibody tests on 11,000 local residents in a random sampling in April. Five to six percent of them tested positive for antibodies related to the CCP virus.

On May 20, Wuhan resident Ms. Zhang told the Chinese-language Epoch Times about the haphazard way in which the testing was performed.

“[The medical staff] just picked up a little bit of saliva from my tongue [as a sample],” Zhang complained. Testing for COVID-19 is typically done by taking a sample with a nasal swab.

Doctor Death

Chinese state-run media reported on June 2 that 42-year-old Wuhan doctor Hu Weifeng has passed away from COVID-19 after more than four months of treatment.

Beijing News quoted Hu’s colleagues as saying that the hospital would formally announce Hu’s death later. Authorities have not yet announced the exact date he passed away.

Hu was deputy director of the urology department at Wuhan Central Hospital. After the outbreak, he began treating COVID-19 patients.

During the second half of January, Hu contracted the virus from patients, and had to be placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ecmo) treatment on Feb. 7.

Beijing News reported that Hu’s condition improved in mid-March. On March 22, Hu was taken off the machine. On April 11, Hu’s tracheostomy tube was removed and he could talk to people.

On April 18, Hu received state media interviews. His skin became the focus, as it turned into a dark brown color. Chinese specialists commented that it was due to liver damage from the medicines he took.

Beijing News reported that Hu suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage twice on April 21 and May 21.

Hu is a colleague of the doctor whistleblower Li Wenliang, who was among the first people to warn about the outbreak on social media in December last year. Aside from Li and Hu, their other colleagues, including Mei Zhongming and Jiang Xueqiang, also died from the virus after being infected by patients.