China’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed 12,600 in the week preceding the Lunar New Year holiday, while a top health official estimated that more than 1.1 billion individuals had been affected since viral precautions were unexpectedly eliminated late last year.
During the week preceding the Lunar New Year vacation, China reported that its COVID-related death toll surpassed 12,600, while a top health official indicated that more than 1.1 billion people had been sick since viral safeguards were unexpectedly destroyed late last year.
China COVID-19 Deaths
China has been criticized for drastically limiting the criteria of a COVID-19 death and ceasing to publish daily caseloads.
The World Health Organization has requested Beijing to reveal more information on the country’s COVID-19 situation as the virus rapidly spreads across China following the sudden relaxation of the severe COVID-zero policy.
China appears to be attempting to assuage these fears by reporting deaths that do not fit within the limited definition, which only includes fatalities among infected individuals with respiratory failure.
Even still, the figures China is now disclosing are incomplete since they only account for fatalities in hospitals, neglecting those that occur at home and in nursing homes. Given the scope of the epidemic and the mortality rates in other nations, the actual death toll could be hundreds of thousands higher.
Separately, the top epidemiologist of the China CDC, Wu Zunyou, stated over the weekend in a Weibo post that 80% of the population had been infected in the current outbreak. At the end of 2022, China had a population of 1.41 billion, indicating that more than 1.1 billion people have contracted the virus thus far.
Concern Over Rural Spread
However, there are indications that the ruling Communist Party is anxious about the virus spreading to regions of the country with fewer hospitals and medical supplies than the larger cities.
In a countrywide video message before the New Year’s vacation, President Xi Jinping highlighted the rural expansion of COVID-19, stating that he is especially worried about efforts to combat the virus in rural areas.
The reopening wave has already led to overcrowded hospitals and crematoriums in the main cities, causing experts to fear that COVID-19 might decimate vulnerable populations in communities with limited healthcare infrastructure.
In rural China, there are just 1.62 physicians and nurses per 1,000 inhabitants, compared to 2.90 and 3.30 nationally. Access to critical care with skilled physicians and life-saving equipment such as ventilators is frequently miles away.
Predictive health analytics firm Airfinity Ltd. upped its estimate for Chinese COVID-19 deaths to 36,000 a day, an increase of 11,000 every 24 hours from its prior figure, in consideration of holiday travel.