Moments ago, China’s National Health Commission released the latest daily coronavirus epidemic numbers for February 5.
What they showed is that the total number of deaths jumped by the biggest daily total since the start of the epidemic, rising by 73 to 563, while the total number of cases on the mainland rose by 3,694, surprisingly a welcome modest decline from the 3,890 increase reported yesterday, which nonetheless brought the total Chinese cases to the highest yet, or 28,018.
This dynamic is shown in the chart below.
And while the slowdown in cases will likely be cheered by the market, we wanted to make two observations.
First, one can’t help but wonder if China is goalseeking either the number of deaths or the number of news cases, because every single day, the death rate has been steady at 2.1% +/- 0.1%. a surprisingly stable relationship.
However what is far more curious is that a secondary data series which is far less popular yet is just as important, the number of people under medical observations, was surprisingly low. In fact, one almost wonders if this number wasn’t fudged. What we mean is that after rising between 15,000 and 22,500 every single day since Jan 27, the number of people under observation rose to just 186,354, which is just 799 cases higher than the day before, which the China National Health Commission represented was 185,555.
Why is this bizarre? The following chart will make it clear. The highlighted box shows that paltry increase in today’s official numbers of people under observation. Needless to say, unless somehow China overnight stopped observing any new cases, this makes no sense.