24 December, 2022 | Riya Girdhar
China announced zero Covid deaths for a second day in a row despite the fact that its policy change to zero-Covid took hospitals off guard and left them scrambling for beds and blood.
China has reported no deaths for the past two days, days after epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding called the country’s Covid situation “thermonuclear awful” in a tweet. However, hospitals are overflowing with Covid patients, and people have to wait days to cremate relatives, both of which reflect the reality on the ground as a result of the dramatic increase in cases after China’s decision to abandon its zero-Covid policy.
Yesterday, China recorded 3,761 new symptomatic Covid infections, up from 3,030 the day before. Official statistics are no longer a credible indicator because fewer tests are being conducted nationwide as a result of recent limitations being loosened.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that more specific data on illness severity, hospital admissions, and demands for critical care units are needed for a thorough assessment, but it has not yet received any information from China.
With hospitals frantically searching for beds and blood, pharmacists frantically searching for medications, and officials rushing to construct clinics, China’s policy U-turn caught a vulnerable health system off guard. China is purposefully keeping the world in the dark about what is happening, according to WHO emergency director Mike Ryan.
Here are the five most important developments.
- Since China opted to abandon the zero Covid policy, the World Health Organization has not received any information on new Covid hospitalisations from China. Before December 7, when China declared its plan to end extended quarantines, mass testing, and compulsory lockdowns, the weekly data was last received.
- According to Reuters, hospitals in Shanghai have been instructed to prepare for a “tragic struggle” with Covid as China anticipates that half of the city’s inhabitants would become sick by the end of next week. This suggests that the virus is also spreading to other places.
- According to Reuters, which cited a British-based health data organisation, more than a million people in China contract an infection every day, and more than 5,000 of them pass away from it. In sharp contrast to official data, the figures are.
- Smaller cities that are not near a coastline region are especially susceptible to a new wave of diseases. The 700,000-person city of Tongchuan in the Shaanxi province of northwest China urged all medical professionals who had retired within the last five years to join the fight against Covid on Wednesday. No one of China’s nine indigenous vaccines has been improved to combat BF.7, a sub-variant of Omicron that is responsible for the Covid upsurge.
- WHO claims that the relaxing of the zero-Covid policy was not the only cause of the dramatic increase. Omicron, the most contagious version to date, is increasing the number of infections, and some experts have issued a warning that China’s epidemic may feed new varieties, which might undo global efforts to stop the pandemic.