China publicly confirmed only 82,919 confirmed cases and 4,633 deaths in mainland Credit: Representational image

New Delhi: China may have massively under-reported its COVID-19 cases, suggest leaked data from military’s National University of Defense Technology, said reports.

Foreign Policy reported that while not fully comprehensive, the data is incredibly rich: there are more than 640,000 updates of information, covering at least 230 cities — in other words, 640,000 rows purporting to show the number of cases in a specific location at the time the data was gathered. Each update includes latitude, longitude and confirmed cases at the location for dates ranging between February to late April.

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However, it is unclear how the dataset’s author defines “confirmed” and “recovered” cases.

China publicly confirmed only 82,919 confirmed cases and 4,633 deaths in mainland, which, compared to the leaked data is understated by 5 times.

The data set includes hospital locations, but it also includes place names corresponding to apartment compounds, hotels, supermarkets, railway stations, restaurants, and schools across the breadth of the country. It also reports a case of coronavirus in a KFC in the eastern city of Zhenjiang. Since the data does not include the names of the individuals who contracted or died from the disease, and the reports of the cases in the dataset could not be independently verified, said Foreign Policy in its report.

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It’s unclear as yet how the university gathered the data. The online version says that they aggregated the data from China’s health ministry, the National Health Commission, media reports, and other public sources.

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