Earlier this month Beijing announced a surprisingly ambitious plan to mass test some eleven million Wuhan residents for coronavirus after a handful of new cases starting popping up again, sparking fears of a second wave in the original virus epicenter.
According to official state media, Chinese health officials are on track to accomplish this, which is no small feat. They are eagerly touting their testing proficiency to the world, only we wish this had been the story when the outbreak first emerged many months ago, as opposed to what many have denounced as an early attempt at cover-up and thus delayed response. Reuters reports:
The city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, conducted 1,470,950 nucleic acid tests for the virus on Friday, the local health authority said on Saturday, compared with 1,000,729 tests the previous day.
That’s a whopping million tests per day, and compares to essentially the same number of tests conducted across American over the prior three months. It appears the unprecedented ultra-ambitious plan to test 11 million people for COVID-19 in a mere 10 days is actually coming to fruition.
“Wuhan kicked off a campaign on May 14 to look for asymptomatic carriers – infected people who show no outward sign of illness – after confirming on May 9-10 its first cluster of COVID-19 infections since its lockdown was lifted on April 8,” Reuters continues.
It marks the first mass testing of its scale to be carried out anywhere, with scientists and governments across the globe sure to be interested in the data it produces, given it could portend second wave ‘flare-ups’ in other countries, should the results show more than expected are still being infected in Wuhan.
Nearly 1.5 million tests.
In one city.
In one day. https://t.co/to7bAhn2FD
— Moon of Alabama (@MoonofA) May 23, 2020
Starting about two weeks ago city districts were ordered to draw up ground level data and local plans to test all residents in their area, in a highly coordinated ground-up effort overseen by national health authorities.
The Wuhan data, which could possibly start to produce results in as little as weeks or a month, could spark a firestorm of controversy surrounding the already sensitive debate on a large-scale reopening of economies in the West, as we detailed previously.