China Thinks COVID Spike Infected 37 Million in a Day

China Thinks COVID Spike Infected 37 Million in a Day

China Thinks COVID Spike Infected 37 Million in a Day: According to estimates from the government’s primary health authority, around 37 million people in China may have contracted Covid-19 on a single day this week, making the country’s outbreak the greatest in the world.

According to minutes from an internal meeting of China’s National Health Commission conducted on Wednesday, which was validated by officials involved in the discussions, as many as 248 million people, or nearly 18% of the population, possibly caught the virus in the first 20 days of December. If true, the infection rate would far exceed the previous daily high of 4 million, achieved in January 2022.

The quick removal of Covid Zero limits by Beijing has allowed the extremely contagious omicron forms to spread unchecked in a population with low levels of natural immunity. According to estimates from the government, more than half of the people living in Beijing and Sichuan province in southwest China are sick.

Given that the nation’s formerly extensive network of PCR testing booths was shut down earlier this month, it is unclear how the Chinese health agency arrived at its estimate. Since home testing with findings that weren’t centralized collected replaced difficult-to-get laboratory tests during the pandemic, actual infection rates have been challenging to establish in other nations.

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Bloomberg News faxed a request for comment, but the NHC didn’t answer. On Friday, phone calls and faxes to the newly established National Disease Control Bureau of the commission, which manages the Covid response, went unanswered.

Rapid antigen tests are increasingly used in China to identify infections, and users are not required to disclose positive results. The government has ceased reporting the daily total of asymptomatic cases.

Based on a review of online keyword searches, Chen Qin, chief economist at data consultancy MetroDataTech, predicts that the current wave in China would peak in most cities between mid-December and late January. His estimate indicates that the reopening boom is already to blame for millions of infections daily, with Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Chongqing having the highest case counts.

Unreported Deaths

The number of deaths was not discussed during the meeting and is not recorded in the minutes. Ma Xiaowei, the head of the NHC, was cited to support the new, more specific criteria used to count Covid deaths. He emphasized that only patients who pass away from Covid-induced pneumonia should be included in the mortality numbers, although deaths will unavoidably happen given how quickly the infection spreads.

According to officials, severe and profound Covid cases in Beijing, the first city to be affected, are beginning to surge even if the city’s general infection incidence is declining. In the meantime, the pandemic is moving from metropolitan areas to rural China, where there are frequently few medical supplies. The organization advised every region to get ready for an uptick in serious illnesses.

The official count of merely 3,049 illnesses registered in China on December 20 sharply contrasts the estimated 37 million daily cases for that day. Additionally, it exceeds the previous pandemic-related world record by a significant margin. According to data provided by Bloomberg, the number of cases worldwide peaked at 4 million on January 19, 2022, during the first wave of omicron infections that followed its introduction in South Africa.

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The severity of the illness implied by the government estimates highlights the difficulty China now faces after abruptly departing from the Covid Zero program that mainly contained the virus for the previous three years. The sudden influx of patients has swamped hospitals in major Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai, while crematoriums cannot keep up with the death toll.