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China COVID-19 surge prompts new dilemma for health workers

China’s overburdened doctors are crumbling as President Xi Jinping reverses his failed Zero-Covid policy and encourages citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

Doctors and nurses across the nation are being urged to work alongside ill and retired colleagues as the nation fights to stay afloat in the midst of one of the world’s most catastrophic COVID-19 outbreaks.

COVID-19 Surge in China

And the situation is expected to escalate as the virus spreads from major cities to rural areas with poor healthcare systems.

Doctor Ning from Beijing, who only provided his surname, stated, We may work hard, we can work overtime, but at the end of the day, medical personnel, like everyone else, are composed of flesh and not iron.

According to Ning, the appalling circumstances have caused a public uproar, with patients blaming physicians for their substandard care. He fears transmitting the virus to patients while dealing with current diseases.

Ning was among a handful of physicians who talked about deplorable working conditions in hospital wards as COVID-19 continues to spread. Some of the interviewees concealed their identities to avoid retaliation.

Meanwhile, Dong from Guangdong said that his clinic has been instructed to handle the overflow of positive Covid cases since there is no more space in hospitals; however, authorities have not yet supplied them with medications and testing equipment.

Yanzhong Huang, the senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, stated that the abrupt U-turn had caused maximum viral transmission and maximum pressure for hospitals.

Duan Xiaoqing, the chief nurse of the neurology department at Luoyang No. 3 Hospital in Henan, said that scores of her workers had been sick yet continued to perform their duties.

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Potential New Variant

China-COVID-19-President Xi Jinping-Zero-Covid policy-Health Workers
China’s overburdened doctors are crumbling as President Xi Jinping reverses his failed Zero-Covid policy and encourages citizens to receive the vaccination.

China’s population is extremely huge, and immunity is limited.  Dr. Stuart Campbell Ray, an infectious disease researcher from Johns Hopkins University, stated that this appears to be the environment in which a new variant may develop.

Each new infection provides the opportunity for the coronavirus to change, and the virus is quickly expanding throughout China. The policy of zero Covid has been largely abandoned by the nation of 1.4 billion. 

Although reported vaccination rates are high overall, booster rates are lower, particularly among older individuals. Vaccines produced domestically have proved to be less effective against severe infections than Western-made messenger RNA vaccines. Many were administered more than a year ago, indicating that immunity had weakened.

The initial form of the coronavirus traveled from China to the rest of the world around three years ago and was later replaced by the Delta variation, followed by Omicron and its grandchildren, which continue to plague the world today.

According to Dr. Shan-Lu Liu, a virus researcher at Ohio State University, several Omicron variants have been identified in China, including BF.7, which is highly adept at bypassing immunization and is suspected to be driving the present outbreak.

According to experts, China’s partly immune population exerts unique pressure on the virus to evolve. Ray compared the virus to a boxer who learns to avoid his talents and adapts to circumvent them.

It is unknown whether or if a new variant will result in a more severe illness. According to experts, there is no fundamental biological cause for the virus to weaken over time.

Read more: China economy cannot recover without an effective vaccine

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