On March 26, the British Daily Mail published an article entitled “Up to 14 per cent of the recovered coronavirus patients in China test positive AGAIN, doctors reveal”, in which it was stated that patients that were infected with the new type of coronavirus and recovered can be infected the second time. According to the publication, studies in China have shown that some of the recovered patients’ test results were positive again in the future.
The article says that the news began to spread especially after it was revealed that China faces the risk of a second outbreak of the virus.
However, these and other allegations in the Daily Mail’s article are manipulative and can lead to misunderstandings.
In particular, the British periodical introduces the topic with some reservations. In the beginning of the article, it is already mentioned that the likelihood of recurrence is not as high as 14 but rather 3 to 14 percent, and they present it as “revealed by doctors”, which, however, is highly exaggerated.
In fact, the “14%” of those infected for the second time were reported from the Chinese province of Guangdong in late February. The Daily Mail also cites a statement from the Guangdong Provincial Center of Disease Control, but does not specify the date. The deputy director of the Center, Song Tie, said in February that 14 percent of patients in their province had tested positive again. According to him, out of the 1347 confirmed infected people at that time, 841 were discharged.
The Daily Mail also obtained some information from the Chinese South China Morning Post publication, from where it took the “3 percent”, noting, however, that it only refers to the results of a double test of 147 patients in one hospital.
The Daily Mail has thus discussed several separate episodes, presenting them as data on the whole of China.
In addition, it should be noted that international health authorities are avoiding assessments of coronavirus re-infection as it has not yet been fully studied and many questions remain unanswered. On the other hand, there is increasingly more debate on the accuracy of the tests. In particular, according to Chinese experts, testing positive again is associated either with the effectiveness of the tests or a person’s physical characteristics.