Some internet users in China are doing their own math and casting doubt on Beijing’s official numbers.
China’s top health body says about 60,000 died of the virus between Dec. 8 last year and Jan. 12 this year, but the figure is significantly lower than estimates of the virus death toll in Beijing—a single city.
Funeral homes in Beijing are capable of cremating 3,600 people per day, when they’re running full capacity. So within these 36 days, funeral homes in Beijing could cremate over 120,000 dead bodies.
On average, about 330 people die of natural causes per day in Beijing. So over 11,000 could die of natural deaths during the same period. Removing that number from the estimate, at least 100,000 could have died from the virus in Beijing, one single city in China.
During this time, funeral homes in Beijing were running at full capacity. The biggest funeral home in Beijing told radio free Asia that crematoriums were working around the clock. Despite that pace, some people have reported wait times up to six days for a slot to cremate their loved ones.