BEIJING        -         Health officials in China have published the first details of more than 44,000 cases of Covid-19, in the biggest study since the outbreak began. Data from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) finds that more than 80% of the cases have been mild, with the sick and elderly most at risk.

The research also points to the high risk to medical staff. A hospital director in the city of Wuhan died from the virus on Tuesday.

Liu Zhiming, 51, was the director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan - one of the leading hospitals in the virus epicentre. He is one of the most senior health officials to die so far.

Hubei, whose capital is Wuhan, is the worst affected province in the country.The report by the CCDC shows the province’s death rate is 2.9% compared with 0.4% in the rest of the country. 

The findings put the overall death rate of the Covid-19 virus at 2.3%. China’s latest official figures released on Tuesday put the overall death toll at 1,868 and 72,436 infections.

Are coronavirus

tests flawed?

Officials reported 98 new deaths and 1,886 new cases in the past day, with 93 of those deaths and 1,807 infections in Hubei province - the epicentre of the outbreak. More than 12,000 people have recovered, according to Chinese authorities.

What does

the study tell us?

The paper by the CCDC, released on Monday and published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology, looked at more than 44,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in China as of 11 February.

While the results largely confirm previous descriptions of the virus and patterns of infection, the study includes a detailed breakdown of the 44,672 confirmed cases across all of China.  It finds that 80.9% of infections are classified as mild, 13.8% as severe and only 4.7% as critical.  The number of deaths among those infected, known as the fatality rate, remains low but rises among those over 80 years old.