China Claims Covid Deaths Down 79% From Peak| MENAFN.COM

Sunday, 02 April 2023 08:34 GMT

China Claims Covid Deaths Down 79% From Peak

(MENAFN- Asia Times)

The number of Covid patients who died in hospitals in China per day declined by 79% on January 23 from a peak on January 4, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

China's CDC said the number of Covid deaths in Chinese hospitals fell from 4,273 to 896 per day during the period as the current epidemic wave waned.

Between January 3 and 23, the number of all Covid cases dropped from 1.63 million to 248,000 while the number of serious cases fell from 128,000 to 36,000, the CDC said.

CDC's chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou said that because about 80% of the 1.4 billion people in China had now been infected, the chance of a new epidemic wave within the next two to three months was small.

Meanwhile, Airfinity, a United Kingdom-based health data firm, said the number of Covid deaths in China could have reached 608,000 since December 1 last year.

After China eased its Covid rules on December 7, the number of Covid infections in the country grew exponentially.

As of January 11, about 900 million people, or 64% of the total population in China, had been infected, according to a research report published by the National School of Development of Peking University.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked the Chinese government to disclose more epidemic data. China's CDC said on January 14 that the number of Covid patients who died in hospitals amounted to 59,938 between December 8, 2022 and January 12, 2023.

China has eased 'zero-Covid' rules in what was seen as a first step toward reopening but cases are spreading as restrictions are loosened. Photo: Screengrab / BBC

The CDC announced more data on Wednesday, saying that Covid deaths in hospitals had increased to 72,596 as of January 19. The figure did not include those who died at home or lived in rural areas.

It said the number of people who tested positive for PCT tests per day had peaked at 6.94 million on December 23 and then gradually decreased to 15,000 on January 23.

It said the number of people who voluntarily submitted their positive rapid test results had peaked at 33.7 million on December 22 and then gradually fell to 4,773 on January 23.

Citing the genome sequencing of 10,165 samples between December 1 last year and January 23 this year, the CDC said 70.8% of the cases were BA.5.2 while 23.4% were BF.7. It said it found only 11 cases of XBB and BQ.1, the dominant strains in western countries, and did not identify any new Covid mutants.

Zhang Wenhong, chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at Shanghai's Huashan Hospital, said about 25% to 50% of the population would be infected in the next epidemic wave, which is expected in May and June, but their symptoms would be milder than what had been experienced generally in the current epidemic wave.

Airfinity said Friday that about 608,000 Covid patients may have died in this epidemic wave in China. It said Covid deaths may have peaked at about 36,000 a day on Thursday, up from its forecast of 25,000 a day.

“Some provinces, such as Hubei and Henan, could see patient demand for intensive care beds being six times hospital capacity,” said Airfinity's analytics director Matt Linley.

“Our forecast estimates a significant burden on China's healthcare system for the next fortnight and it is likely that many treatable patients could die due to overcrowded hospitals and lack of care.”

China's Covid data is in doubt. Photo: Weibo

It said the virus had spread more quickly to rural areas, partly driven by people traveling for the Chinese New Year holidays this week. The CDC has not published any epidemic data for China's rural areas so far.

A Liaoning-based columnist said many people had previously thought that the coronavirus would cause many deaths in rural areas but such a scenario has not been reported yet. He said villagers have in general stronger immunity than those who live in urban areas as they perform physical labor and have healthy diets.

However, his views failed to convince many netizens, who said many deaths in rural areas were simply not reported.

A Henan-based writer said a dozen elderly people in his village, which has 2,000 people, had died since last December. He said most of these patients, who had chronic diseases, had apparently recovered from Covid infections but then died within the following days.

He said the price of coffins rose to about 6,000 yuan (US$884) each, from the normal level of 2,000 to 3,000 yuan. He said some villagers made some coffins for their deceased relatives in order to save money.

read: china's covid death count far from morbid reality

Follow Jeff Pao on Twitter at @jeffpao3


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