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College of Arts and Sciences

China is reporting big successes in the coronavirus fight. Should we trust the numbers?

By: Jeremy L. Wallace,  The Washington Post
March 23, 2020

Jeremy Lee Wallace, associate professor in the government department, suggests in an opinion piece for the Washington Post that China may be distorting the data in its fight against coronavirus. Although the country has significantly slowed the spread of the virus, the numbers may be exaggerated, he argues.

“Once the central government’s propaganda mission to win the “people’s war” against the virus became clear, numbers shifted to achieve that vision,” Wallace writes in his piece. “Such shifts would probably be subtle — not hundreds or thousands of hidden deaths, but instead excluding deaths that could be attributed to other types of pneumonia or heart failure, for instance.”